Banish Bad Breath

Whether it's more of a common occurrence or the lingering effects of your last meal, bad breath affects us all at some point. Looking good means feeling good, so to make sure your breath is fresh, follow these tips from The American Dental Association:

• What you eat affects the air you exhale, so avoid foods such as garlic and onions, which contribute to bad breath. These foods are absorbed into the bloodstream and transferred to the lungs, where they are expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Odors continue until the body eliminates the food.

• Brush and floss daily so particles of food don't remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, causing bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.

• Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.

• Stop smoking. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

• Maintaining good oral health and schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take for your dentist to review.

• Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.