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Many of us have suffered from a bout of bad breath, also known as halitosis, or have encountered someone with consistently foul breat.

Many of us have suffered from a bout of bad breath, also known as halitosis, or have encountered someone with consistently foul breath. Before you assume that your co-worker hasn't brushed his or her teeth, consider that bad breath can also stem from indigestion, constipation, nose or throat infection, dry mouth, metabolism disorders, and improper diet. Diabetes, liver and kidney malfunctions, hypoglycemia, and bowel sluggishness can also cause chronic bad breath. While bad breath as a result of inadequate oral care is relatively easy to combat, other causes can be more difficult to treat, requiring dietary changes.

Bad breath originating in the mouth is the most common type. Accumula-tions of bacteria in the mouth produce an unpleasant odour. When brushing, make sure to also clean the gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush. You may want to consider a tongue scraper, which removes the hard-to-reach bacteria from the back of the tongue.

Periodontal disease or cavities should be treated quickly. Rinsing the mouth with water after meals reduces food particles that can contribute to halitosis. If you enjoy onions and garlic, chew a few sprigs of parsley or some fennel after eating them. Choose a mouthwash that is alcohol free and contains peppermint or fennel, available at your local health food store.

From the Inside Out

A different approach is needed for bad breath resulting from internal ailments and illnesses. In addition to proper oral care, certain foods can help reduce halitosis.

Chlorophyll acts as an internal deodorizer and can be taken in tablet or liquid form. Alfalfa and spirulina also contain high amounts of chlorophyll; they're available in powder or capsules. A good way to obtain all three is to have a "greens" drink daily; it can be swished around the mouth as a mouthwash, then swallowed.

To help your digestive system do its job, eat fermented foods such as yogourt and kefir, which contain healthy bacteria to balance intestinal flora. Eat more fruits such as kiwi, papaya, and pineapple, which contain digestive enzymes. Activated charcoal cleanses the stomach and intestines, absorbs toxins, and is a natural purifier. Take 5 mg per day.

With daily oral care and dietary additions, you can go a long way in combating bad breath. You'll breathe easier-and so will those around you.



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