Imagine this: you’re on your way to a hot date or to meet with an important client, so you conduct a quick breath test. Hhhaaaa…did you just recoil from your own breath when you did that? Don’t worry; the following quick fixes will help you freshen up your stale breath in no time.

Quick Fix #1: Swish with water.

Dry mouth is a haven for odor-causing bacteria. This is because saliva contains oxygen that deters the growth of bacteria. You can easily rehydrate your mouth by swishing water around in your mouth and spitting it out. The water will dislodge the bacteria and make your breath more agreeable.

Quick Fix #2: Don’t skip meals.

Likewise, avoid skipping meals to keep your mouth from drying out. When you don’t eat for a long time, your mouth can become very dry, becoming a perfect breathing ground for odor-causing bacteria.

Quick Fix #3: Chew on the garnish on your plate.

Chew on the sprig of parsley that’s left on your plate at the end of your power lunch or dinner date. Chlorophyll, the compound that gives parsley and all other plants their green tinge, is a known internal deodorizer and breath freshener by hindering the growth of bacteria.

Quick Fix #4: Scrape your tongue over your teeth.

Your tongue can be coated with protein-fermenting bacteria, which results in foul-smelling gases. Scraping your tongue with your teeth can dislodge the bacteria so you can rinse them away with water.

You can also use a metal or plastic spoon as an improvised tongue scraper. To use a spoon, place it at the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Do this several times remembering to scrape the sides of your tongue as well. Be careful not to push the spoon too far back as this could trigger your gag reflex.

Quick Fix #5: Turn to spices.

Chew on anise seeds, cardamom, fennel or dill. Anise seeds help kill the odor-causing bacteria that grows on the tongue, while the others can help mask the odor.

Cloves, on the other hand, naturally contain a potent antibacterial called eugenol. Pop one in your mouth and slightly dent it with your teeth. The oil might burn slightly so keep it moving around the mouth as the aromatic oil fills your mouth. Bite on the nub from time to time to help exude out the oil. Don’t use clove oil or powdered cloves as they’re too strong and can cause burns.

Suck on a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon is also an effective antiseptic.

Quick Fix #6: Drink water after your coffee.

Caffeinated drinks like cola and coffee lower the pH balance in the mouth, allowing odor-causing mouth bacteria to thrive. You can easily restore the pH level back to normal by drinking a glass of water after your coffee.

Quick Fix #7: Chew on a gum.

If it’s impossible to brush your teeth or use a mouthwash, chewing on a gum might freshen your breath albeit temporarily. Look for sugar-free gums that contain Xylitol. Xylitol is a product that occurs naturally in many fruits, berries, oats and vegetables. It looks and tastes like sugar, but leaves nothing for bacteria to feed on. This is because bacteria can’t use Xylitol as a food source. Bad breath results from the bacteria breaking down the food that’ left in the mouth. Since bacteria can’t breakdown Xylitol, bacteria can’t produce the toxins that cause bad breath.

Hew a Xylitol-containing gum after every snack of meal. Pretty soon you’ll be kissing your bad breath goodbye.

Quick Fix #8: Say no to odorous foods.

Certain foods can sour breath even when there are no bacteria around. These include beer, whiskey, cigarettes, onions, garlic and strong cheeses. Not only do bits and pieces of these foods can get stuck in between your teeth, but when they get digested they can make their way into the blood stream and exuded by the lungs, making your breath doubly foul. Hence, in situations where sweet-smelling breath is a must, use your common sense and just say no to these odorous foods.

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