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Don’t Let Bad Breath Trouble Your Pretty Smile

15 Tips to Freshen Your Breath

10 Tips to Banish Bad Breath continued...

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.

9. Chew gum with xylitol to banish bad breath. Chewing gum makes you salivate if your mouth is dry and causing bad breath. Saliva is what washes away the bacteria in your mouth. 

10. See your dentist. At least every six months, see your dentist for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. Your dentist can check your mouth and teeth for open cavities and gum disease that cause bad breath.

If self-care tips don’t work to stop your bad breath, see your doctor. Occasionally bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.

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Reviewed on July 12, 2010

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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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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