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Bad Breath, Morning Breath - 12 Step Plan
By Dr. Donald A. Miller

I recently read a news miscellany that a young researcher into a cure for bad breath offered only one solution: brush the back of the tongue when brushing your teeth. How foolish! That advice can't hurt, but there's much more to the story.

Here is better advice, based on years of sweet breath.

1. Don't smoke. Non smokers can smell your stench for hours afterwards, from many feet away. It's so bad that a non smoker can usually tell if there are smokers in the automo- bile in front, or if someone has smoked in a given room or car even days earlier.

2. Limit alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks on most days. A little bit can extend life, but a lot can shorten it, as well as irritating the digestive system enough to taint your breath.

3. Eat a low fat and high fiber diet, with whole-grains, fruits, vegetables. That is also good advice for reducing your chances of heart attack and cancer.

4. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, and fatty-salty snacks.

5. Don't be fat. Overweight can damage your whole system in a lot of ways, including foul breath.

6. Have regular bowel movements, best if soon after or before your first meal of the day. If you need help getting into this habit, take high fiber dietary supplements after supper, in moderation. "Psyllium husk" works. Non-fiber laxatives, used frequently, are not a good idea. See #11.

7. Brush your teeth after your last meal of the day, and don't snack afterwards. Brush from the gums to the teeth ends. Include a good job of flossing, as a dentist can teach you, reaching below the gum line. It is a waste of time to brush before breakfast, but after breakfast is fine. (I floss and brush both a.m. and p.m., and my few fillings are all from my early years. My parents did not know any better.)

8. Get regular dental cleanings and treat any cavities. If you are good with floss and brush, you can go longer than six months. If you always have visible crusty deposits along your gum line, you have not been cleaning properly, and you will probably be wearing dentures before middle age. Teeth DON'T have to be rotting in order to fall out.

9. Don't bother with mouth wash or special tooth pastes, unless your dentist says there is a good medical reason for it. That is one of the most profitable and worthless product categories on the market, after carbonated beverages. If you are really paranoid, you can gargle with dilute hydrogen peroxide or salt water, but prolonged use can kill off beneficial bacteria and encourage the growth of yeasts and fungi.

10. If you have any chronic diseases, ask your doctor if they can affect your breath. Some medicines can taint the breath, but their benefits are more important than how you smell.

11. Get at least some exercise. If nothing better, walk a mile or two every day. A morning walk can help regular bowel movements.

12. Don't worry about spices, garlic, onions; they are a part of a joyful life. If you are concerned, brush teeth or chew gum afterwards.

However, if your spicy foods contain a lot of fat, see if you can modify the recipes or limit how often you indulge.

Copyright 2004 by Dr. Donald A. Miller

Donald A. Miller, Ph.D. is the author of "Easy Health Diet", and several thousand other reports, including two eBooks available through Amazon.Com. More health information can be found at his web site http://easyhealthdiet.com.

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