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Fight bad breath through diets

“The first step in dealing with bad breath is to figure out what is causing it,” says Dr. Phillip Lainson, Professor Emeritus and former head…

“The first step in dealing with bad breath is to figure out what is causing it,” says Dr. Phillip Lainson, Professor Emeritus and former head of the Periodontics Department at the UI College of Dentistry. “You may brush your teeth four times a day and use mouthwash regularly; but if you are diabetic, that will not help at all,” he says

To reduce bad breath however, these are foods you can eat.

Chew these herbs: You can chew on fresh herbs or make tonics by steeping them in hot water (as tea). These herbs (Coriander, spearmint) make an excellent digestive as well—doubling the benefits of ending a meal this way.

Drink yogurt:   A recent study found that a serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odour-causing hydrogen sulphide in the mouth. Apparently it also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth—plaque and gum disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. Plus, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends getting enough vitamin D from yogurt and milk if you’re worried about halitosis because this vitamin creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. Be sure to get the kind of yogurt with active cultures—not overly processed or sugar-added varieties.

Eat crunchy fruits: Apples, carrots, celery—basically any fibre-rich fruit or vegetable is your friend when it comes to fighting bad breath, also known as halitosis. Plaque builds up inside the mouth, causing odours. Experts say eating foods that increase saliva production keep the mouth moist—and rinsed out. Also, many carbohydrates and proteins can get stuck in your teeth—even healthy foods like whole grain cereal or chicken breast.”

Masking techniques: Sugarless gum shouldn’t replace brushing your teeth after a meal, but in a pinch it can freshen up breath (masking odours) and is another way to increase saliva production to rinse away plaque and bacteria. Mints can mask as well, but only briefly—and go for sugarless. Sugar creates plaque, and no one wants a mint that makes breath worse.

Take fruits rich in Vitamin C: Eating citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C-rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacterial growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis—both major causes of halitosis. Get your C in foods, not supplements, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in some and exacerbate bad breath.

But besides all these, brushing at least twice a day and routine flossing will help maintain a healthy mouth, says Dr Benn Oaikhene of Regal Dental Clinic. Dental floss is using a bundle of thin nylon filaments or a plastic ribbon to remove food and dental plaques. You may be brushing three times a day but not getting access to all parts of your teeth. But flossing will help clean around the gum edge.

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