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Unless it is caused by illness, halitosis (the scientific term for bad breath) can usually be eliminated by sensible eating habits and thorough oral hygiene. Bad breath is usually a trivial complaint and it is often caused by curry, garlic, alcohol or cigarettes.

Digestive problems and constipation can also cause halitosis, and here again a healthy sensible diet can often help. However, it is important to seek professional dental or medical advice if the cause of halitosis is not easily identified or remedied.

Food odours can be avoided by chewing a few dill seeds or a couple coffee beans after a meal. Caraway and cardamom seeds are also effective, while chewing a sprig of fresh parsley is claimed to rid the breath of garlic and alcohol odours. Regular brushing with a good tooth brush and eating plenty of fibre rich foods such as raw vegetables, apples and pears help to massage the gums and keep them healthy. Reduce plaque formation by cutting down on sugary drinks and foods- particularly those that stick to your teeth – and brush and floss your teeth as regularly as possible. Don’t forget the mouth wash too.

Problems in the mouth, the nose and sinuses, the lungs or the stomach and digestive tract can all lead to bad breath. To relieve sinus problems try eating decongestant spices such as ginger, cinnamon, mustard and horseradish. It may also help to add 5 or 6 drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, and then inhale the pungent steam.

Chronic chest infections require medical attention, but you can help to avoid them by not smoking, and by eating plenty of carrots, broccoli, spinach and citrus fruits for their beta carotene and vitamin C – which helps to protect lung tissue.

Constipation, ulcers and indigestion can also provoke bad breath. Sucking peppermints and chewing gum may hide it, but it is best to deal with the cause by increasing your fibre and fluid intake. Try eating whole-wheat bread instead of white, eat plenty of fruits and veggies and drink a couple of extra glasses of water a day!

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