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What is worse than having broccoli protruding through your grin? For many people, it is having bad breath. Also known as halitosis, bad breath impacts over 70 million people and is one of the most common reasons people will visit their dentists. What causes the odor? When food is left on the teeth—anaerobic bacteria kicks into gear and produces sulfur compounds (this has a rotten egg odor). The bacteria starts to grow in your mouth, between your teeth, under your gums and on your tongue if you don’t brush or floss regularly. When oral hygiene is disregarded, then bacteria will thrive if it's not controlled. It may be more than a case of eating garlic or drinking too much coffee as well.

"Bad breath impacts over 70 million people and is one of the most common reasons people will visit their dentists."
Sometimes there are larger issues going on that will cause bad breath like periodontal disease. This is when there is an accumulation of plaque on the teeth and it starts to break down the gums. The bacteria can get so serious it can cause damage to the gums and to the jawbone. Other causes of bad breath are yeast infections in the mouth, dry mouth, kidney and liver problems. Not pretty, we know. But now we have an understanding of what is going in the mouth. Here are ways you can attack bad breath naturally.

Use baking soda as a mouthwash.

Mouthwash gives you the added protection you need and gets rid of bacteria. Mix one cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to get rid of bad breath. Add a drop of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil, Everyday Health recommended. “Don't just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breath at its source.”

Drink plenty of water.

Water keeps the mouth moist and it will keep bacteria at bay. Drink plenty of water and add a slice of an orange or add a slice of lemon to your water. The reason is bacteria hates an acidic environment and it will make bacteria harder to flourish. Try eating more strawberries, grapefruits and kiwis to help battle bad breath. You can make a solution ahead of time. Fill a pitcher of water and slice up fruit and chill it overnight for a bacteria fighting beverage. Also, the citrus in the drink will stimulate saliva glands.

Use nature to brush your teeth.

We don’t have time to brush our teeth all the time! If you are always on the go you can snack on foods which will actually clean your teeth for you. Fibrous foods will encourage saliva production and kill germs while naturally brushing your teeth. “Nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts may strengthen immunity and improve the body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation," Delta Dental shared. Eat more apples, cranberries, carrots, leafy greens and celery to clean and to kill plaque. There are even more reasons to eat more veggies! They protect the gums from cell damage and from bacterial infection.

Start chewing on cinnamon sticks.

Cinnamon is great in your cooking, but it can kill bacteria as well. Chewing on a cinnamon stick will release essential oils that will kill germs! You can add a cinnamon stick to a cup of hot tea for a great flavor, while it kills microorganisms. If chewing on a cinnamon stick is not for you, you can make a solution. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Strain the liquid and let it cool. Use this to rinse your mouth twice a day to get rid of bad breath. You can also chew on other spices like fennel seeds and cardamom to help maintain healthy breath.

Consume more herbs.

Herbs are not only good for the body but by chewing on them it will kill germs that cause bad breath. Herbs like parsley, mint, rosemary, basil and cilantro have long-term benefits due to the chlorophyll. What is chlorophyll? “Chlorophyll is a green pigment that’s instrumental in photosynthesis,” the Global Healing Center explained. This pigment is found in many vegetables and it is considered a super food. There are reasons for this. Chlorophyll helps the teeth, the organs, may prevent anemia and may prevent cancer.

Eat yogurt.

According to WebMD, a study showed that yogurt could make your breath fresh and fight odor. Researchers found that eating 6 ounces of yogurt a day fought hydrogen sulfide. "Consuming the active bacteria like streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus, may have a beneficial effect on odor-causing bacteria in the mouth,” the site reported. These live cultures in yogurt reduce the sulfates and it will destroy bacteria in your mouth and in your gut. Cheese has the same benefit and neutralizes acids and neutralizes odors. The vitamin D found in both yogurt and in cheese will help your immune system as well.

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