Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top tips on how to keep your breath fresh

Having great teeth and an attractive smile is always a priority, but often we forget that what we can’t see makes a difference too! Of all the five senses, scent is perhaps the most evocative. Fresh cut grass on a summer afternoon, the aroma of warm bread just out of the oven, a pot of coffee bubbling on the stove… Our sense of smell even plays a part in how we select potential partners and of course, in one of the great human mating rituals: kissing!

But just as good smells can bring back wonderful memories, unpleasant odours are equally powerful. That’s why it’s essential to maintain a thorough dental hygiene routine that not only protects our teeth and gums from disease and decay but also keeps your breath fresh. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, what we eat and drink can also make a big difference.

Here are some top tips for making sure what you eat and drink helps keep your breath fresh:
The tongue test
One of the worst things is discovering your breath is less than fresh from someone else. According to Dr Harold Katz, founder of the California Breath Clinic it’s the bacteria on the tongue rather than the teeth that is often the cause of bad breath. He suggests rather than blowing into cupped hands the way to test is to lick the back of your hand and sniff it once it’s dry.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!

It’s every model’s not-so-secret weapon. It wards away wrinkles and keeps us looking young, but did you know that drinking plenty of fresh water also helps keep our breath fresh? This is because keeping the mouth and tongue hydrated is an essential part of any oral care routine, helping to flush away food debris and bacteria. Green tea is also great because it’s full of flavonoids, which are thought to reduce levels of sulphur compounds that can give rise to bad breath.
Vitamins are vital
Foods rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, berries and melon are great as it helps kill bacteria, though it’s good to mix it up with other, less acidic options such as kale, sweet red pepper and even cauliflower to make sure we’re still kind to our teeth enamel.
The American Dietetic Association reports that Vitamin D also creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria in the mouth, which is one of the reasons why eating yoghurt can help. Yoghurt is also good for the gut, where many breath-related odours can originate.
Helpful herbs

Eating fresh veg with plenty of fibre, aids digestion and also aids the release of saliva, which is effective in keeping bacteria levels low. Herbs and spices also come into play. Fresh coriander, parsley, eucalyptus and spearmint can all be steeped to an infusion or chewed to help release their breath freshening properties.
There’s no doubt that a healthy diet and lifetstyle (yes, smoking is still public enemy number one when it comes to oral healthcare!) are important, but don’t forget the basics either. Keeping up with a thorough flossing and brushing routine, alongside regular trips to the hygienist are also vital.

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