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Oral Health Buzz

Ten Bad Breath Remedies

Mary West

Bad breath is an embarrassing issue that can hamper your social life. It is encouraging to know that the problem can often be improved through the consistent use of good oral care along with avoiding the beverages and foods that make it worse. Other bad breath remedies, such as chewing on certain herbs and spices, staying hydrated and abstaining from tobacco, can also make a difference. Knowing what practices help and what practices hurt can enable you to attack the problem head on.

1. Brush Regularly

Brushing removes the sticky film of bacteria from your teeth and gums that can cause bad breath, so do this at least twice a day. Since some odors can be eliminated immediately after a meal, keep a toothbrush at your workplace. Buy a new toothbrush every three or four months, choosing one that has soft bristles. Use a toothpaste such as Colgate® MaxFresh® that removes odor-causing bacteria.

2. Clean Your Tongue

The tongue is often overlooked in oral care, but it can harbor plaque and tiny bits of food. When you brush your teeth, gently sweep the brush across the tongue to remove food and bacteria that can lead to bad breath. If you have a coated tongue, you could benefit from a tongue scraper.

3. Floss Once a Day

Don't forget to floss. Doing this at least once a day will get rid of plaque hiding between the teeth. Flossing is as important as brushing because tiny food particles can become trapped in these areas.

4. Clean Your Dentures and Retainers

Proper oral care includes maintaining the cleanliness of anything within your mouth. Remove your dentures at night and brush them with a dental cleanser. If you use a dental retainer, clean it each time before putting it back in your mouth.

5. Avoid Certain Beverages

Some beverages can cause breath odor. According to Prevention magazine, they include coffee and alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine and whiskey. They leave behind a residue that sticks to the plaque in your mouth, so each breath you take spews these smells back into the air.

6. Be Aware of Odorous Foods

The odor from strong-tasting cheeses, such as Camembert, Roquefort and blue cheese, can remain in your mouth. Essential oils from garlic, onions and hot peppers can also linger for some time after a meal. Avoiding garlic and onions isn't the greatest option, however, because they are healthy foods, so check the following tip to help alleviate this problem.

7. Use Natural Breath-Fresheners

Some herbs and spices in your kitchen can freshen your breath. Parsley contains chlorophyll, which is a natural deodorizer. Drinking a cup of mint tea or chewing on mint leaves can also help. Another tip is to carry a bag of cloves, anise seeds or fennel to chew on after eating an odor-causing meal.

8. Avoid a Dry Mouth

A dry mouth can cause bad breath, so stay hydrated. You can do this by drinking plenty of water while avoiding soft drinks, coffee and alcohol, all of which dry the mouth. In cases of severe dry mouth, a dentist may prescribe artificial saliva.

9. Don't Smoke or Chew Tobacco

Aside from being harmful to health in many ways, smoking and chewing tobacco can contribute to bad breath. The unpleasant scent of these products remains in the mouth after use. It's best to avoid them completely.

10. Get Regular Dental Cleanings and Checkups

Make appointments for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Discuss your bad breath with your dentist so that he or she can determine whether your issue stems from an oral cause, is a side effect of your medications or is due to a general health condition. When the cause is not due to an issue within your mouth, you may have to consult your doctor.

If you try these bad breath remedies, especially those that contribute to good oral care, the issue will likely improve. They are all easy to practice and can help you overcome bad breath.

Learn more about bad breath in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Source: Flickr/Andy Rennie

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