We all know there are many foods that can give us bad breath, but did you know there are certain foods that can promote fresh breath, too? We asked Orange County, CA, cosmetic dentist Katherine Ahn, DDS, for her top five picks for foods that boost our oral hygiene and give us better breath, naturally.
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Dr. Ahn suggests chewing on herbs to freshen breath naturally. “The chlorophyll in parsley reportedly has antibacterial and antifungal properties that work against volatile compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan, while the peppermint oil found in mint will also help freshen your breath.” Dr. Ahn says that other herbs such as basil, rosemary, cilantro and tarragon have also been reported to help neutralize odors.
“Chew on a teaspoon of fragrant seeds such as cloves, fennel seeds, cardamom or aniseeds, which have been said to have antiseptic and breath-freshening qualities,” says Dr. Ahn. Because seeds are a fairly common snack and easy to stow away in your purse, this is an stress-free way to “secretly” freshen your breath in public.
Dr. Ahn suggests chewing on a piece of lemon or orange rind, as they are multitaskers when it comes to oral health. She explains that the rind itself can assist in scrubbing teeth and the citric acid will stimulate salivary flow while the lemon and orange oil fill your mouth with a fresh smell. (Note: Wash the rind thoroughly first.)
According to Dr. Ahn, apples are known to not only scrub your teeth and increase salivary flow, but also to be one of the best foods to neutralize garlic odor. “Other crisp vegetables like carrots and celery all help to scrub your teeth as you eat, helping to clean sticky foods or plaque remaining on your teeth.”
“The polyphenols or compounds in black and green tea may help prevent the growth of bacteria and decrease the bacteria’s production of smelly by-products,” explains Dr. Ahn, adding that, when possible, it’s best to choose tea that is low in caffeine because caffeine can dry out your mouth and work against your efforts at increasing salivary flow.
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