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Don’t Let Bad Breath Trouble Your Pretty Smile

15 Tips to Freshen Your Breath
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10 Tips to Banish Bad Breath continued...

2. Floss once a day for fresh breath. Flossing is must-do. Flossing gets out hidden food particles and removes plaque, a coating of bacteria that forms around the tooth. Flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease -- another common cause of bad breath.

 3. Gargle with peroxide to fight halitosis. An antimicrobial mouthwash is important if you have a problem with excess plaque. "You can also gargle with peroxide for fresher breath," says Mike McIlwain, DMD, a dentist at McIlwain Dentistry and an assistant clinical professor in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Florida. McIlwain recommends gargling with peroxide to his patients. "Treat it like your favorite mouthwash. Just swig, swish, and spit. The oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide kills mouth bacteria that cause bad breath," McIlwain says. 

4. Use a fluoride mouth rinse for sweeter breath. Not only do decayed teeth hurt, they have an awful odor. Tooth decay can be prevented with fluoride toothpaste and proper dental care. 

5. Drink lots of water to avert bad breath. "Lack of fluids can lead to dry mouth (xerostomia) and cause bad breath," says Murray Grossan, MD, a board certified otolaryngologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and coauthor of The Sinus Cure. Dry mouth or reduced saliva can be the result of not drinking enough liquids, mouth breathing, or medications like antihistamines.

6. Reduce upset stomachs to ease bad breath. Over-the-counter antacids may ease a sour or acidic stomach, which can cause halitosis when you burp. If you are milk intolerant and have GI problems, try lactase tablets.

7. Check your sinuses; infections cause bad breath. Bad breath is often a clue to an underlying sinus infection. "The purulent post-nasal drip is the culprit," says William Sears, MD, also known as "America's Pediatrician," an associate clinical professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Post-nasal drip is most noticeable after sleeping at night, which is why many people rush to brush their teeth first thing in the morning.

8. Eat yogurt for sweeter breath. Yogurt replenishes the good bacteria in the gut and "promotes a healthier mouth," McIlwain says. Sears recommends celery "to remove stinky bacteria." You may also try eating parsley between meals to fresh breath. Parsley reportedly has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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