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People are often concerned about bad breath, also known as halitosis, in social situations. We all worry about it at some point. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association reports that over forty million Americans suffer from bad breath.

One of the main reasons for bad breath is plaque on the teeth, which breeds bacteria.  Food in between the teeth and around the gum line increases the problem.  More frequent and more effective brushing will help eliminate this problem.  Do not brush harder, but rather brush more effectively. Brushing harder can wear away enamel causing tooth decay and even more bacteria.

Scraping your tongue after brushing is another way to alleviate bad breath. Bacteria that remain on the tongue are known to cause odor. There is a product called a “tongue scraper” created for just this problem.  A tongue scraper helps to maintain even pressure when scraping the tongue removing more bacteria than brushing alone does. If you’re a smoker, kicking the habit can help eliminate bad breath.

It goes without saying that what you eat and drink will affect your breath.  Many foods simply linger on our breath for longer than we’d like.  You could always carry breath mints with you, but a better way to keep your breath fresh is to chew sugarless gum.  Chewing gum increases saliva which counteracts plaque acids, eliminating bacteria growth.  And whenever possible, rinse your mouth out with water after a meal.  Food particles are washed away along with any potential odor causing bacteria.

Some medications and medical conditions can also cause bad breath.  Always check with your dentist or primary health care provider to make sure there are no underlying health issues causing the bad breath. Once given the all clear on health concerns, practice good oral hygiene and you should have fresh breath in no time.

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