No one likes to hear it, but it’s worse not to know it: You have bad breath.

We all know the usual culprits of bad breath, garlic and onion take the typical top spots on the list. However, you can’t fully blame them because there are some non obvious foods that can spoil your freshness even further. We’ll even show you how to manage them so they don’t ruin your day around co-workers or friends.

1. Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Having that second beer at the bar or energy drink for a little pick me up, might not be in your best interests. Like coffee, alcohol and caffeine from energy drinks can be dehydrating on the body. When your body starts to dehydrate, your mouth dries out, which causes bacteria to build up. According to Lisa Harper Mallonee, B.S.D.H., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., associate professor at Texas A&M University, “the drying of the mouth fosters some foul smells,” she says. “Using mouthwash containing alcohol on your already dry mouth can temporarily take away odor, but it leaves your mouth even drier later.”

There is no magic fix to take away bad breath from energy drinks or alcohol. However, if you’re breath reeks, it’s important to hydrate by drinking electrolytes or coconut water. Try drinking a glass of water per every pint of beer you drink. This will also help you the next morning if you had too much to drink.

butter on block sliced
yogurt with blackberries in cup

2. Dairy

This one might be hard for some to avoid, but we all know the risk of stinky cheeses and milk. “Dairy does linger in the mouth,” says Mallonee. Some people that are lactose intolerant don’t have sufficient enzymes to break down the dairy.

A way to get rid of the bad breath from dairy is to actually eat more dairy. Sound counteractive, right? Mallonee goes on to explain that you can swap out cheese and milk for yogurt, which contains live probiotics that will assist your body in processing the food.

3. Candy

Candy doesn’t just rot your teeth, it also leaves your breath with a stinky scent. The sugar mixed with the bacteria in your mouth isn’t the most pleasant combination which releases smelly sulfur compounds, says Mallonee. Since candy is hard to remove from your teeth, it increases the time bacteria and sugar can react, leaving you with bad breath for longer.

A quick fix is to brush your teeth and your tongue. Your tongue harbors a lot of bacteria from the foods we eat, so brushing it can help eliminate some odors. Flossing is also a good way to remove any extra particles of food that get stuck in-between your teeth.

random sugar candy piled up
stead dinner with vegetables on plate

4. Red Meat

Enjoying a fine steak at dinner might be a great way to celebrate success. And, although, protein is a vital nutrient in our diet, remnants in your oral cavity can product some awful smells. Choosing other meats such as chicken or fish, won’t leave you with the same problem.

The best way to freshen up is with a stick of gum. The rubbing and chewing motion can remove food particles and buildup. Our bodies need red meet, so it’s not smart to avoid red meats in general. Believe it or not, chewing gum produces more saliva, which helps flush out food particles. An ingredient in gum known as xylitol, has been proven to be a bacteria killer, says Mallonee. She recommends purchasing Spry Xylitol Gum, which contains 100% xylitol, like Trident.

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We all know soda rots your teeth out and milk makes your bones strong, but what foods are best for your teeth? After being asked this question by a great number of our patients, we came up with seven of the best foods for your mouth. When it comes to the health of your teeth, you really are what you eat. Sugary foods, such as candy, contribute to tooth decay. One of the first areas to decline when your diet is less than ideal is your oral health, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Use this healthy foods list to improve your diet and the health of your mouth.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens typically find their way onto any healthy foods list. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale on a pizza. You can also try adding some greens to a smoothie.

Cheese

If you’re one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. A study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry, found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. It’s thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

Apples

While the ADA recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples, might be sweet, but they’re also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn’t the same as brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack either a whole apple or apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.

Carrots

Like apples, carrots are crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Along with being high in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A. Top a salad with a few slices of raw carrots, or enjoy some baby carrots on their own.

Celery

Celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, watery and full of those pesky strings, but like carrots and apples, it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Make celery even tastier by topping it with cream cheese.

Almonds

Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch. You can also add a handful to a salad or to a stir-fry dinner.

Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you’re drinking. Since it has no calories or sugar, water is always the best pick, especially compared to juice or soda. Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile.

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gum disease dental checkup

Our gums are the most overworked and often under appreciated part of the body. We always hear how important it is to brush our teeth, but what about our gums? They’re sole job is to hold our teeth in place and keep our mouth healthy. Our body’s overall health depends on healthy gums.

What is Gum Disease?

You’ve heard the term used many times, but what actually is gum disease? It is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. When you don’t brush or floss properly, bacteria builds up around the gums. This buildup causes inflammation and irritation called gingivitis which is a mild form of gum disease. This is the bodies response to fighting the bacteria. Left untreated, the bacteria gets deeper in-between the gums and teeth. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, where the bacteria and body’s continual response can actually tear down the connection between the gums and teeth.

It’s been reported by the CDC that more than 47% of adults living in the United States have some form of gum disease. That’s nearly half of all adults live-in the the U.S. and you wonder why your dentist always reminds you to brush after every meal?

Gum disease has many evident symptoms that you can check for. Here are some of them:

  • – Bad breath that you can’t get rid of
  • – Painful gums that are red to the touch
  • – Sensitive teeth
  • – Loose teeth
  • – Bleeding gums
  • – Receding gums or loss of gums

How Does Gum Disease Affect Other Body Parts?

You can obviously lose your teeth due to severe gum disease, but it doesn’t stop there. Once your teeth rot, other body systems may be directly affected. Gum disease has been tied to other serious health concerns and can make existing conditions much worse.

Lung and respiratory System

Since your immune system is already fighting the infection in your mouth due to gum disease, the body becomes weaker. This makes it easier to contract respiratory illnesses not limited to pneumonia and bronchitis. This is especially fatal to patients that are elderly or young and should be monitored very closely.

doctor checkup for respiratory infection

Fertility and Pregnancy

There has been several identified factors common with gum disease that could effect a mother and her unborn baby. On average, it takes a mother with gum disease two to three months longer to conceive than women who don’t have any signs of gum disease.

Women who are pregnant are actually at a higher chance of developing gum disease believe it or not. Nearly 40% off all women who are pregnant will get gum disease at some point during their pregnancy. In many cases the gum disease will go away on its own but those who do not take proper care of their teeth and gums could be at a higher risk of having premature babies with a low birth weight.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Gum disease has been proven in many cases to be associated with heart disease and risk of stroke. More commonly, people with gum disease are also linked to smokers, genetics, have a presence of diabetes and more. Continued research is being done to show how bacteria and inflammation collected in the mouth might be connected with bacteria in the arteries which can cause certain types of heart disease.

How to Prevent Gum Disease in 3 Steps

If nearly half of all adults have some form of gum disease, should we just give up and expect to live with it?  Absolutely not!  Gum disease is treatable and most of the time can be fully cured.  Your dentist can often detect the presence of gum disease or the signs it may be developing before you notice symptoms, so the best defense is a great offense.

  1. Brush your teeth every day to remove this bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, and to help avoid cavities.
  2. Floss each day in order to remove the bacteria from between your teeth and around the gum line. Mouth wash is also recommend and can keep bad breath under control.
  3. Regular checkups and professional cleanings by a dentist or hygienist will help to remove any plaque, build-up (calculus) and bacteria that we aren’t able to reach during your regular oral hygiene routine at home.
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