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Try this! Lick your wrist. Wait patiently for 5 seconds while the saliva dries out, and then take a whiff of it. How does it smell?
If you have done so, you now know how the end of your tongue smells like. Ironic as it is, our nose and mouth, despite their close proximity, are not good breath-o-meters. This is because the nose tends to filter out the smell of one’s own breath as background odors. The result? A stinky breath that’s oblivious to you, but not to others.
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be embarrassing. Poor oral hygiene or underlying medical conditions such as sinusitis give rise to this condition. The unpleasant smell comes from volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), excreted by unwelcomed bacterial guest in the mouth. Breath problems can affect one’s quality of life; not only does it lower your self-esteem, it too can have an impact on your social life and even your relationship.
Kiss bad breath goodbye with these tips.

Practice good oral hygiene

Start from the crux of the problem- your mouth. Brush and floss daily to clean away the food particles wedged in between of your pearly whites. The food you eat, especially ones that are high in protein, when digested by oral bacteria in your mouth produces bacterial waste products that cause bad breath. Add these essential dental cleaning aids into your routine to achieve a cleaner mouth:

  • Mouthwash: Swishing mouthwash around your mouth can kill bacteria in areas that are out of your toothbrush’s reach. The best time to use it is actually before bedtime. Mouthwashes are also great at masking your breath for a length of time.
  • Tongue Scraper: This device is used to scrape off food debris and bacteria that have accumulated at the top of your tongue. The accumulation, a thick whitish coating, is found at the back of your tongue. Bacteria accumulation is most common cause of bad breath, so scrape those bugs off!

Watch what you eat

If you are all set to have a candle-lit dinner on that day, make wise choices by avoiding food that are heavy with onions, raw garlic, cabbage and some spices. These foods are a no-no as they contribute in producing bad odors in the mouth. For drinks, skip beverages such as alcohol, coffee and soda. You may want to abstain from dairy products too; dairy products serve as a protein source for foul breath and thicken nasal mucous.
However, the only exception is yogurt; sugarless one that is. A recent study in Japan showed that yoghurt’s active culture helps to combat bad breath. If you happen to have some herbs on your plate, chew on them! Herbs such as parsley contain chlorophyll, a known breath freshener.

Don’t stress out

Giving out or accepting your first kiss? You feel your heart pounding faster, hands getting clammier, and your mouth starts feeling dry. Dry mouth also known as Xerostomia, can cause your breath to smell bad quickly. The reason for this lies with the reduced production of saliva, which has antibacterial action and also helps in the washing away of food particles. Thus, the lack of saliva flow in the mouth stops its natural ability to clean itself. Calm yourself down or pop a sugarless mint to regulate the salivary glands.

Visit your dentist

Who knows oral health better than your dentist? Visit your dentist regularly to detect, treat and prevent dental disorders. Dental disorders not only harm your teeth and gums, they are also known to cause bad breath. Disorders such as periodotitis, gingivostomatitis, and caries should not be left untreated.

Drink plenty of H2O

An acidic and dry mouth is an ideal environment for bad bacteria to thrive on. A dryer mouth is also one that has higher acidity. Drinking water helps to regulate saliva flow; saliva neutralizes, cleanses and dilutes the bacteria in your mouth, hence reducing the effects and triggering of bad breath. Do stay hydrated throughout the day, as it helps to keep bad breath at bay.
Seek professional advice if it the problem persists as chronic bad breath can be a sign of a general health problem. Make this Valentine’s a special one, not just for your other half, but also for your oral health. Don’t let bad breath blow your chances for a romantic evening away!

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