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Regardless of whether it’s a fleeting case of morning bad breath or halitosis, everyone has breath sometimes. While the former can be ‘cured’ by brushing and flossing, the same cannot be said about the latter. Halitosis is a serious condition that presents numerous implications and, because it makes you feel embarrassed or self-conscious, it can get in the way of your social life. Following are some of the common causes of bad breath as well as effective means of ‘refreshing’ it.

• Quit smoking

Bad breath is yet another reason why you should kick the habit. In addition to bad breath, smoking also stains teeth, causes damage to the gum tissue and increases the risk of developing oral cancers. If you have been smoking for many years and can’t quit all by yourself, talk to your dentist. He or she is likely to recommend you quit-smoking programs or prescribe your medication that can help you give up smoking for good.

• Scrape your tongue when you brush

Although many people brush their teeth two times per day, most forget to scrape their tongues and remove the coating that normally forms here. In case you have an easily trigger gag reflex and can’t use the toothbrush for this purpose, consider purchasing a tongue scraper. The tool is designed to apply consistent pressure across the surface, so you can even use it to get rid of the coating at the back of your tongue. Moreover, the tongue scraper can help do away with certain food debris, bacteria and dead cells that brushing alone can’t remove.

• Brush and floss more often

Because the primary cause of bad breath is plaque – the sticky build-up in your mouth where bacteria thrive – you should consider brushing and flossing more frequently. Take note that food particles caught between the teeth only make matters worse. While brushing is essential to maintain a fresh mouth, don’t overdo it, because you risk wearing the enamel and rendering your teeth prone to cavities and decay.

• Refrain from eating foods that sour your breath

While you might enjoy onions and garlic, both of them are known to contribute to the bad breath issue. What is worse is that you can’t remove the sour breath despite the fact that you brush. Because onions and garlic contain volatile substances that enter your bloodstream relatively easily, they are transported to the lungs, from where you continue to exhale them. In case you don’t want to eliminate them completely from your diet, at least avoid eating foods with garlic and onions before attending social occasions or going to work.

• Consider chewing gum after meals

Granted, many people prefer to eat a mint candy after meals to freshen their breath. However, little do they realize that sugary candy promotes the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity, microorganisms that transform sugar into acids that damage the enamel. Therefore, one way of managing bad breath entails trading the mint for a sugarless chewing gum. The advantage of chewing gum is that it stimulates saliva, meaning the mouth’s natural defence mechanism against plaque and consequentially, bad breath.