5 Tips to Get Rid of “Van Breath”

In Spry’s time as a sponsor for the Ragnar Relay Race Series, we’ve talked to hundreds of runners and in all our conversations there is a common subject that seems to come up: “van breath”.

The technical term for “van breath”— or bad breath, is halitosis. (Although halitosis is technically considered chronic bad breath, many people still refer to halitosis as normal bad breath. Either way, it’s not fun for you or your friend next to you.) Bad breath occurs when there is a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Think about your garbage can and how bad it smells; part of the reason there’s that rank odor is all the bacteria metabolizing compounds, which then release methane. The same kind of principle applies in your mouth. If there is a high amount of bacteria metabolizing sugars and carbs in your mouth, it’s bound to stink.

Good thing there are easy ways to get rid of van breath. Here are 5 tips that will help you:

1. Lay off the snacks and candy
We know that munching on a bag of Doritos or eating a strip of jerky doesn’t do any favors for your breath, and neither do those Skittles and Starbursts. All of those salty and sugary snacks feed the catalyst for bad breath, the bacteria in your mouth, letting them flourish.

2. Keep your mouth hydrated
Bad breath abounds when your mouth is dry. Saliva is the natural cleanser for the mouth and will help get rid of food particulate and bacteria that cause the odors. By drinking water, you can help wash that stuff out and get your salivary glands going again.

3. Consider getting a tongue scraper (van friendly too!)
If you notice that your breath is really bad, you can always invest in a tongue scraper. These are specifically designed to scrape off the stuff that causes the bad breath, which usually live on the back of your tongue. If you’re not ready for that investment, look for some disposable ones for your long weekend at Ragnar.

4. Lay off the sugar-y sports drinks
Just like with snacks and candy, sports drinks CAN be high in carbs and sugar, which make the bacteria in your mouth very happy…..while your van buddy may not be. Instead of the sports drinks, look into sugar free options or electrolyte powders to add into your water. These generally are better for you, and your teeth. Fun tip: did you know that milk gets rid of lingering odors?

5. Use Mints or Gum in the meantime
Spry Mints and Spry Gum not only help your breath smell fresher with nice minty flavors, but they also help get rid of the stuff causing that unwanted stench in your mouth. Spry should be a part of your routine throughout the day so your teeth can be healthy. But if you do decide to have some sugary snacks or use a gel pack, chew on some Spry Gum right after. Your mouth will thank you for it.

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