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Tips for Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Tips for Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Two clinical words describe bad breath: xerostomia and halitosis. Xerostomia is mouth dryness, caused by either low salivary flow or a constitutional change in the saliva. One of the side effects of xerostomia is bad breath, or halitosis.

Nobody wants bad breath, but almost anything can trigger it—stress, diet, cavities, an infection, lack of oral hygiene. Chronic halitosis is taken seriously by dentists as it can be a sign of other health problems, like pneumonia or diabetes.

But if you want to be prepared for a random halitosis strike, the following techniques may help.

• Add floss and a tongue scraper to your oral health regimen. Floss is falling out of favor with some dental experts, who question its preventive powers against cavities. However, floss obviously is meant to remove food particles, the primary source for smelly bacteria. Meanwhile, a tongue scraper can remove dead cells and bacterial residue while providing a scrubbed-clean sensation.

• Since saliva stimulation is essential to good breath, drink lots of water—especially after meals or after drinking coffee. In addition to washing away sugars that might otherwise adhere to teeth, water lubricates your mouth for easier speaking. You can also stimulate saliva by sucking on a piece of hard candy or chewing sugarless, xylitol-containing gum.

• If you feel rather more whimsical about fighting halitosis, there are several organic substances you can consume. Swallow a shot of apple cider vinegar before or after each meal, chasing it with a glass of water. You can take an alfalfa tablet, or chew a licorice-flavored seed called anise. Lemon, fennel, and parsley are all known commodities in the fight against bad breath.

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