Everyone wants fresh breath. To suffer from halitosis is to be stigmatized by coworkers, friends, and even family members. To combat this, many people use mouthwash after brushing their teeth.

What they may not realize, however, is that their mouthwash could be what is actually causing their bad breath. That’s because of what your mouthwash contains and how it interacts with the microbes in your mouth.

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The first thing you’ll want to do is check the freshness of your breath to determine if you suffer from halitosis. This way, you can know exactly what others are smelling when you talk to them. There are actually several ways you can do this.

The best way to do it is to lick your wrist and then smell the area you licked after a few seconds. If there’s an odor there, you can be sure that others are complaining about your bad breath. If you perform this test and you notice an unpleasant smell even though you’ve used mouthwash, that mouthwash may actually be the culprit.

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That’s due to the fact that most mouthwashes contain either alcohol or chlorhexidine. These ingredients mask unpleasant smells and kill bacteria in your mouth. While it kills the bad bacteria that causes bad breath, it also kills the good bacteria that you want in your mouth. If you use mouthwash daily, it may actually permanently kill the good bacteria, leaving just the bad bacteria behind. This can lead to chronic halitosis.

Dentists actually warn that the death of this good bacteria can have other health effects besides just bad breath. Good bacteria can help prevent head and neck cancer and can also help regulate blood pressure. Many dentists actually recommend avoiding commercial mouthwash entirely.

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Instead, they recommend some natural ways to combat bad breath. The first way to ensure that you are getting enough water. Halitosis is caused by a dry mouth, so drinking water throughout the day is a great way to prevent bad breath.

You can also chew lemon rind or orange rind throughout the day to give your mouth a pleasant odor. If drinking water throughout the day isn’t an option, chewing on some rinds can keep your mouth hydrated and make your breath smell fresh. Gum can also help, but the sugar in gum is not good for your teeth.

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If you’re someone who guzzles down coffee, you may want to cut back. Coffee is notorious for causing bad breath. If you can’t imagine your day without a cup (or three) of coffee, make sure you’re drinking water with it to cut down on the bad breath.

A tongue scraper may also be a wise investment to prevent bad breath. These scrapers clear off bacteria and dead skin cells on your tongue, cutting down on breath problems. A tongue scraper can be purchased at just about any pharmacy.

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These simple tips can leave your breath smelling fresh throughout the day without the problems mouthwash can cause. Just follow these suggestions and your coworkers will thank you.