May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Quick, anybody have a cucumber? Holding a slice between your tongue and the roof of your mouth for about 90 seconds helps minimize oral malodor. Fresh out of cukes? No worries—we have a few more hints to help you keep bad breath at bay.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, celery and yes, cucumbers, boost saliva production, which washes away odor-causing bacteria and helps remove bacteria-laden plaques on teeth and gums. You can also chew on some herbs. Dill, parsley, basil and cilantro contain chlorophyll, a natural breath freshener. Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus and rosemary are all bad-breath fighters as well.

Don’t slack off about brushing and flossing your teeth. Do so after every meal. While brushing removes surface plaque, it misses up to 40 percent hiding between the teeth. That can lead to unpleasant odors and cavities. Don’t neglect to brush or scrape your tongue either! The top of the tongue is a place that bacteria love to lodge, especially in the back of the mouth. Swirling water or alcohol-free mouthwash around the mouth after eating can help take care of this when teeth can’t be brushed, or after having a snack.

Dehydration also causes bad breath. Avoid drinks like coffee and alcohol, which can cause your breath to smell up to 10 hours later and does nothing to hydrate. Just sipping water all day will keep your mouth clean and odor-free. Chewing gum can help increase saliva production as well. Just be sure your gum is sugarless!

If the problem of a smelly mouth comes on suddenly, the culprit might be medication you have started taking. Some drugs given for high blood pressure, allergies and depression may make your mouth dry, which can cause it to smell. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates to lose or maintain weight can also result in bad breath. Such a diet makes the body release ketones. These are foul-smelling chemicals that are released from the body through the breath.

If bad breath won’t go away, it may be an indicator of a problem like unclean dentures, an abscess, gum disease or a tooth that is decaying. Be sure to see your dentist for your twice-yearly checkups. Not only can we do a thorough cleaning on your teeth, but we can check for potential issues in your mouth. Your dentist may also recommend a checkup by a physician. Sometimes, there is an underlying physical cause for bad breath like a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux or liver problems. However, most cases of bad breath can be controlled with some simple oral hygiene and a healthy diet.

Dr. Herbert Schneider has been recognized for his work with fellowship awards from the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Endodontic Society. He also holds a prestigious Mastership from the World Clinical Laser Institute. Dr. Rachel Jacobs joined the practice in 2006. Her calm yet precise manner makes her a hit with both adults and children. Both doctors are certified in the uses of three different clinical lasers.

By Dr. Rachel Jacobs and Dr. Herbert Schneider

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