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5 Foods that Zap Bad Breath Fast

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You're at an important business meeting over lunch and suddenly you realize ... you have terrible breath! Don't panic. There are some quick and easy natural remedies to stop bad breath quickly so you can focus on more important things.

  1. Green tea
    Green tea is good for your oral health in more ways than one. A study indicated that antioxidants in green tea fight multiple causes of bad breath. Specifically, the polyphenols reduce sulfur compounds and oral bacteria that contribute to stinky breath. Keep a couple of green tea bags in your bag or car; you can almost always find a cup of hot water, whether it's at a gas station, coffee shop or restaurant.
  2. Apples
    Crispy fruits and vegetables can help you produce saliva, which helps wash away odor-causing bacteria and prevent dry mouth. As a bonus, biting into an apple can help clean off your teeth and remove food particles which could also be causing stinky breath. Keep an apple at your desk or throw one in your bag whenever you think you might need a quick breath freshener.
  3. Oranges or lemons
    Have morning breath? (No one has to know!) Try squeezing some lemon juice into a glass of water and drinking it first thing when you wake up. If you're out to eat, grab a lemon wedge to chew on, or stash an orange in your bag or at the office as an emergency breath-saving snack. The vitamin C and increased saliva production from the citrus will help improve breath immediately.
  4. Basil
    Got a craving for garlic on your pizza but afraid you'll knock your friends out with garlic breath? Just order some basil as a second topping. Along with parsley and other herbs, basil contains polyphenols that break down sulfur compounds that lead to garlic breath. So save a basil leaf to chew after dinner, and wash it all down with a big glass of water for extra fresh breath.
  5. Black coffee
    Okay, this isn't going to cure any bad breath, but drinking coffee black instead of with milk and sugar (sorry, pumpkin spice lattes, you're out) will help prevent dreaded coffee breath. Bacteria in your mouth feeds on the dairy and sugar, so if you're having a business meeting or date over coffee, consider drinking it black. Caffeine can also cause dry mouth, which, in turn, can lead to bad breath, so try to sip water along with your coffee.

If you're in a pinch and can't get to any of these breath-freshening food or drinks, water is always a good place to start! Swish it around to remove any food particles and restore the pH balance in your mouth, and drink lots throughout the day to help prevent bad breath from dry mouth. At a restaurant and need help fast? Slip away to the restroom with a spoon and gently scrape your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria. (You can also keep a tongue scraper at home and make this part of your daily oral hygiene routine!)

If you find that you're fighting off bad breath on a regular basis, talk with your dentist about potential underlying conditions, like gingivitis, cavities or tonsil stones. Otherwise, you have some solid tips to get you through most bad breath scenarios with confidence!