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Fresh Holiday Breath

The holidays are here and your to-do list is getting longer! Bad breath (halitosis) can be a nasty interruption to party plans and family gatherings. This article will explore some of the main offenders and offer a few ideas to help your holidays get off to a fresh start.

Bad breath can have powerful effects on social situations, and the real kicker is that the offender is generally unaware. Our sense of smell is fascinating in that odors that build up or are overwhelming tend to be blocked out by our brains. This makes it even more important to take precautions against halitosis.

Morning breath is often cited as a culprit for bad breath. The reason your breath gets a bad rap in the morning is because your mouth has limited saliva during the night and often becomes dry. Unfortunately, dry mouth can occur at any time and quickly cause bad breath. Saliva naturally cleans your mouth, helps you rinse away food particles, and is antibacterial.

Occasionally, bad breath is due to something in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract, or to a systemic infection. Some health problems, such as sinus infections or diabetes, can also cause bad breath. And sometimes it just comes down to what you ate for dinner.

We all know that garlic and onions are on the ‘do not eat’ list when concerned about bad breath, but did you know that excess meat, coffee and alcoholic drinks promote excess bacterial growth? And you guessed it – this growth often leads to bad breath. Actually, any food that is allowed to linger can negatively affect your breath. Rinsing with water after meals, snacks, and drinking coffee and alcohol can greatly reduce the likelihood of halitosis.

There are certain foods that smell pleasant and have the same effect in your mouth. Fruits high in Vitamin C help reduce the number of smelly bacteria in your mouth. Other foods that can quell smelly breath include raw fiber-packed veggies like celery, carrots and apples. These foods also stimulate saliva, which will naturally combat bacteria. Mint, parsley, basil, dill, and cinnamon can temporarily mask odors because they contain essential oils that fight stinky breath.

Mints can temporarily help alleviate halitosis, but the smell will eventually come through. Chewing sugarless gum can remove extra debris and has been proven to be beneficial after meals. A word of caution – if the mint or gum contains sugar, it will actually feed the bacteria and cause it to multiply, which can lead to bad breath.

One of the best ways to ease bad breath is to brush and floss often. Brushing the tongue is also a good idea because it is a bacteria hang-out. Regular dental cleanings will remove the hard-to-reach plaque and the tarter build-up that’s difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Sometimes the bad breath culprit can be traced to cavities or gum disease, and regular dental visits will help you spot these issues to improve your breath and overall dental health.

May your holidays be filled with happiness and fresh, clean breath!

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