Prepping for New Year’s Eve is a big thing, from choosing where you’ll spend it and who with, to choosing a killer outfit and perfecting your hair and makeup before the night kicks off.
Something we often forget to account for is the potential for bad breath to strike, especially when dining out and drinking alcohol during the night. It happens to the best of us, but we’ve put together some of the best tips for fresh breath and keeping your teeth healthy just in time for the New Year to begin!
- Before the night begins
- Alcohol, dehydration and your breath
- Social smoking
- Items to carry
- Best and worst food and drinks
- At the end of the night
- Keeping your breath fresh year round
1. Before the night begins
Banishing bad breath starts before you even head out for the night with a quality oral hygiene routine. Odour is caused by bacteria in the mouth, so ensuring you’ve brushed twice a day, flossed and used mouthwash will help eliminate excess bacteria and clean your mouth. Make sure you also brush or scrape your tongue, as bacteria can easily begin building up on its surface between the taste buds and crevices, and be a big contributor to bad breath.
Brushing your teeth before drinking will also help prevent staining from highly pigmented drinks like red wine, as they won’t have as much plaque to cling to if it’s cleaned away first.
2. Alcohol, dehydration and your breath
Apart from a sore head, one of the other negative effects you’ll notice after drinking is dry mouth during the night or first thing in the morning. Heavy drinking causes dehydration, which also means preventing the flow of saliva which normally washes away food particles from your mouth, neutralises bacteria that feed off sugars you consume, and protects your teeth and gums from acid damage.
Alcohol is very acidic, which will erode your teeth even when they don’t have the protection of your saliva. Gums can also suffer, which can increase the risk of developing gum disease.
3. Social smoking
Whether you’re a full time smoker or even tend to socially smoke when you have a few drinks, your breath is going to suffer for it. Not only does tobacco have a negative effect on your general and dental health, but it also dries out your mouth like alcohol causing many of the same issues mentioned above. Cigarettes also create a lingering smell that continues even after brushing your teeth, which is even more of an excuse to quit if it means getting rid of the bad breath!
4. Items to carry
The most common and convenient way to keep your breath fresh on the go is by carrying some sugar free gum in your pocket or purse, which will also help stimulate the flow of saliva and clean your teeth between brushing. If you have enough space, another useful tip to freshen up is to carry peppermint oil, as you can mix a few drops with a glass of water for an effective mouth rinse.
5. Best and worst food and drinks
When it comes to choosing what you eat and drink on New Year’s Eve, some options are definitely better than others!
- Drink plenty of water throughout the night – not only will this help increase your chances of making it to midnight, it will also keep you hydrated and wash away food particles, sugars and bacteria before you can brush again
- If you find your food garnished with parsley, chew it! Parsley contains chlorophyll, which helps eliminate odour
- Crunchy vegetables like carrot and celery and cheese will help scrub the food debris from your teeth and reduce plaque buildup
Foods and drinks you should avoid:
- Limit the number of cocktails you drink, as these are normally full of added sugar in the form of syrups and fruit juices, which can damage your teeth and gums. Even “no-sugar” soft drinks and alcohol in general are highly in acids which can erode tooth enamel, so to reduce the risk try to stick to beer or spirits on the rocks
- If you decide to drink red wine, avoid drinking white beforehand as it is more acidic so it will wear down the enamel and make it easier for the red wine to stain your teeth
6. At the end of the night
Once you’ve made it through to the new year, you may think that brushing your teeth as soon as possible will be the best idea for keeping them strong and healthy. In fact, you should be avoiding brushing your teeth until at least half an hour after your last drink (or other sugary food or beverage). The acidity and sugars weaken the tooth enamel, making it easier to damage the surface of your teeth with the abrasiveness of brushing.
7. Keeping your breath fresh year round
To keep your teeth and breath at their best all the time, ensuring you visit your dentist for your 6 monthly checkup and clean is the perfect New Year’s resolution. These tips will help in the short term, but if you have ongoing bad breath or oral health issues, your dentist can figure out if these are a result of poor oral hygiene or an underlying problem like gum disease or dry mouth syndrome.