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Mistletoe season is upon us! And those of us who hang the evergreen branches from our ceilings come Christmas time know, there is nothing worse than being caught under the mistletoe whilst the bad breath elf has got your tongue!Mistletoe-photo-vintage

Of course, bad breath is not caused by naughty elves. In fact, there are many reasons why someone might have halitosis (that’s the fancy way of saying bad breath). Some of the most common being:

Bacteria – Your mouth has billions of bacteria. Yes, that’s “billions” with a B. They live in between your teeth and on your tongue and gums. They are responsible for everything from cavities to halitosis.

Food – Foods such as onion and garlic can cause bad breath even after you brush your teeth.

Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can leave you with a really nasty smell in your mouth.  It’s bad for your health. It’s bad for your mouth. It makes your breath, body and clothing smell. And, no, gum doesn’t help.

So what is the best way to stay mistletoe ready? Here are the top 5 ways to battle bad breath:

1. Brush your teeth

The number one way to cure bad breath is something you should be doing already, twice a day! Make sure you’re using a fluoride toothpaste and include brushing your tongue to your tooth brushing regiment. That will help remove smelly bacteria that cause bad breath. Remember bacteria from the first part of this post? They’re the main culprits when it comes to stinky breath.

2. Floss

Flossing is a must. It will help remove hidden food bits from in between teeth that bacteria love to feed on.

3. Mouthwash

An antimicrobial mouthwash will help kill off lingering bacteria that create bad breath. You can also gargle with hydrogen peroxide. It will not only kill bacteria in your mouth, but it will also help to whiten your teeth. Just be be careful. Hydrogen can damage the tissues in your mouth if not properly diluted. Here are some suggestions on how to gargle hydrogen peroxide safely.

4. Chew gum

Chewing gum makes you salivate. Saliva is what washes away the bacteria in your mouth. Just make sure you use a gum sweetened with Xylitol and not something loaded with sugar.

5. Drink water

Xerostomia, or as it is more commonly known, dry mouth is a major cause of bad breath. Regularly drinking fluids will help to create more moisture in the mouth and help ward off dryness. Try sticking to water or at least something without sugar.

And don’t forget to visit your dentist.

Twice a year! Especially if you have chronic bad breath. Occasionally bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease. Your dentist will clean your teeth, give you a full exam and make sure that your bad breath isn’t something more than just the pasta you ate for lunch. (Please don’t eat pasta before visiting your dentist. That is just mean.)

Garlic

Follow these tips and you’ll be mistletoe ready in no time. And remember, that New Year’s Eve kiss is right around the corner!

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