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Banishing bad breath.

Has anyone discovered a remedy for very bad breath?

Bill Dwyer

Virginia Beach, Virginia

The first step to relief is a trip to the dentist. Most cases of persistent bad breath are linked to treatable problems in the mouth, according to Susan Zunt, D.D.S., M.S.

"The key to curing bad breath, or halitosis, is to find out and treat what's causing it," explains Dr. Zunt, who is professor of oral pathology at Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis. "Dentists have the tools to detect and manage advanced periodontal disease and dental decay, and can prescribe salivary stimulants such as pilocarpine and cevimeline for patients with bad breath due to dry mouth."

Removing sulfur-producing bacteria from the tongue twice daily with an overturned spoon or tongue scraper (available at retail and online outlets such as oolitt.com) also alleviates bad breath in some cases.

"When using a tongue scraper, press gently and reach back to the large bumps at the base of the tongue known as the circumvallate papillae," advises Dr. Zunt. "Chewing gum that contains cinnamaldehyde has also been shown to kill bacteria in saliva and on the tongue that cause halitosis."

Of course, eating garlic, onions, meat, fish, and cheese can cause bad breath, and avoiding them may help reduce odor, she adds. Consult a family doctor or ear-nose-and-throat specialist when halitosis is unrelated to oral problems.

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Title Annotation:Medical Mailbox
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:232
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