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12 Ways to Fight Bad Breath

By Charles Hopkins Published 09/20/2007 | Health
Are you embarrassed of your bad breath? Is it annoying you and making you very self-conscious? I bet you can't wait to get rid of it.

However, you are not alone when it comes to bad breath. 35 to 45 percent of the entire world's population has chronic bad breath. So, what can you do to be rid of it? Here are 12 ways to fight bad breath:

1. More often than not, bad breath is a sign of gum disease. Get into the habit of practicing good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth well and don't forget to floss. Also, visit your dentist to get rid of plaque buildup.

2. Don't forget to clean your tongue as well. Get rid of that whitish coating. Pay more attention to the back of the tongue because that's where the bacteria that cause bad breath usually reside. Some people have suggested using an inverted spoon to scrape the tongue. However, it is more effective to use a tongue scrapper.

3. Choose your breath mints or chewing gum wisely. Make sure they are sugar-free. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause bad breath. So your breath may smell nice temporarily but the bad breath will return later and may smell even worse. Choose instead products that have xylitol. It's a natural sweetener that helps to buffer acidity and reduce the build-up of plaque-causing bacteria.

4. Prevent a dry mouth. Saliva is a great help in washing away food particles and bacteria. To keep your mouth moist, make sure you drink plenty of water. Minimize your intake of coffee, soft drinks and alcohol. Japanese scientists recommend green tea. They say it promotes healing of damaged gums as well as contains antioxidant polyphenols. Dry mouth is also a result of breathing through the mouth. This usually happens when you sleep.

5. Be careful of which mouthwash you use. Those with alcohol content will contribute to a dry mouth. Look instead for mouthwashes with chlorine dioxide. It will directly attack the volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath.

6. It is no secret that garlic, onions and curry spices give you bad breath. However, the effect is only temporary, as eventually, your body will get rid of those foods. However, if you need a quick fix and brushing your teeth doesn't get rid of the smell, you can try drinking lemonade or suck a lemon wedge sprinkled with salt.

7. Chlorophyll has been recognized as a powerful breath freshener. Get a healthy dose of chlorophyll by chewing on fresh parsley. You can also chew on spirulina tablets or drink chlorophyll rich drinks such as wheat-grass.

8. Herbal remedies include chewing on fennel or anise seeds. You can also make a tea from cloves and use it as a mouthwash. Cloves are said to have antiseptic properties.

9. Do you have milk intolerance? Eliminate dairy products from your diet and see if your bad breath goes away.

10. Restore and maintain your intestinal flora with probiotics. Also, improve the function of your large intestine by eating lots of fiber rich foods.

11. Tea tree oil also does well to vanquish bad breath. In the market you can find tea tree oil floss, mouthwash, toothpastes and mouth spray. What works too is putting one or two drops of tea tree oil straight from the bottle onto your toothbrush before you brush.

12. Check for an underlying medical condition such as tonsillitis, diabetes, intestinal disease, lung disease, liver disorder or chronic sinusitis.