Do friends and neighbors, small children and even pets, flee for no apparent reason whenever you draw near? Holy halitosis! It's time to freshen those exhalations...
Step 1: Brush & floss Brush your teeth and floss regularly to help remove odor-causing bacteria and food particles that could be rotting.
Step 2: Brush tongue Gently brush the top of your tongue every time you finish brushing your teeth.
Step 3: Rinse mouth Rinse your mouth well with water or mouthwash to flush out any particles you've dislodged.
Step 4: Clean dentures & retainers If you wear dentures or retainers, clean them thoroughly—the smell could be lurking there.
Step 5: Examine diet Examine your diet to see if the following items could be the culprits: garlic, onions, cabbage, cheese, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and certain vitamins and medications.
TIP: Even though brushing your teeth will temporarily remove the odor from offensive foods, the scent is originating inside you and will return unless you cut the food from your diet completely.
Step 6: Stop smoking If you smoke, stop smoking.
Step 7: Drink water & suck candy Drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless candy if you commonly have a dry mouth.
Step 8: Visit dentist Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning or check-up—or sooner, if these steps don't work. He or she can help figure out what's causing the problem and devise a treatment plan to get rid of it.
TIP: Certain medical conditions can cause bad breath, so your dentist might refer you to a doctor.
Step 9: Use mouthwash, gum & mints Use mouthwash, sugarless gum, or breath mints to help mask bad breath—but don't let that stop you from getting to the root of the problem. Your loved ones—and anyone else in striking distance—will thank you.
FACT: Two thousand years ago the Chinese used cloves to sweeten bad breath—anyone approaching the Emperor was required to hold one in his mouth.