4 Ways you can Eliminate Halitosis

It’s tough to decide what to say to someone with halitosis (bad breath). Do you tell them and hope they thank you for pointing out the issue or do you keep quiet for fear of a negative response? In the former situation, you’ve helped the poor guy (or girl, let’s not single out the men here) out, but in the latter, just think of the countless others you’ve now subjected to a face full of nasty!

Whatever way you slice it, it’s an issue that plagues just about everyone at some point in our lives. So what are some steps to avoid having the nastiest breath out there? We have some recommendations to eliminate bad breath:

1. Avoid Mouthwash – What? Did you just say AVOID Mouthwash? Yes we did. Most mouthwash is made up of a flavoring, alcohol, and dye, and when you use it, the weakest bacteria die, and the strongest survive, slowly building a superculture of bacteria in your mouth. Using mouthwash too often may also irritate the delicate membranes in your mouth.

2. Practice proper dental care – This one is a no-brainer, but people still need to be reminded of this. We once had a patient that had such awful sweaters on his teeth, Dr. Ash considered refusing service, and he’s not even a dentist! Of course, this guy’s breath was beyond terrible and there was a host of other issues past the teeth (good heart health starts with good dental hygiene).

Brushing the teeth and flossing are of course a huge part of this. Food gets stuck between the teeth and decomposes, causing odor. That’s why flossing is such  a critical part of your daily regimen. You don’t want stuff decomposing in your mouth, do you? Also, brushing the tongue has been shown to diminish bad breath more than brushing the teeth. Not that you should neglect your choppers, just add this to the repertoire

3. Foods you should avoid – Garlic (the list always starts here) onions, hot peppers, cheeses (especially blue cheese, Camembert, and Roquefort), spicy oily meats including pastrami, pepperoni, and salami, and oily fish like anchovies.  Drinks that can cause problems with your breath include coffee, beer, wine, and whiskey especially, but most alcohol will give you a higher likelihood of bad breath. And cigarettes … do we really even need to mention this?

4. Foods you can eat – From MSN: Some halitosis-fighting herbs include: coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom.  Crunchy fruits and vegetables that incite saliva production: Apples, carrots and celery.  Vitamin C-rich foods that create an inhospitable environment for bacteria: berries, citrus fruits, and melons. Even sugarless gum can work just fine to mask odors in a pinch!

If you continue to have really bad breath after you’ve made all these changes, it could be symbolic of another issue going on behind the scenes such as an untreated infection somewhere in your body. As always, see a doctor if the problems persist!

May 10, 2010

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