Beating Bad Breath

If you’re bothered by bad breath, simple measures often can help. Bad breath often stems from food particles in the mouth, from dry mouth, or from a health problem.

The June issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers tips to beat bad breath:

Brush your teeth or use a mouthwash after you eat. Brushing is best. If you use a mouthwash, swish it around for 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing removes decaying food.

Brush your tongue. Brush the back of your tongue while brushing your teeth. Or, scrape it with a tongue scraper, which can be purchased at a pharmacy.

Drink water to keep your mouth moist. When your mouth is dry, there’s insufficient saliva to wash away dead cells. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy can help stimulate saliva production.

Avoid foods that may cause bad breath. This often includes onions and garlic. Oils from these foods are transferred to the lungs and exhaled.

Clean your dentures daily. They can harbor bacteria and food particles.

See your dentist or doctor. Bad breath that doesn’t respond to simple measures may be related to periodontal disease, an abscessed tooth, an infection, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, postnasal drip, certain esophageal problems, or other conditions.

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