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Be kissable: Get rid of bad breath

A dentist tells you how to banish bacteria for a fresh-smelling mouth.
/ Source: TODAY

We have all had bad breath at one time or another. But it can turn into a major embarrassment if you’re snuggling up to your sweetie and he asks you what you had for lunch. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Dr. Susanne Cohen, a dentist and CEO of Triumph Pharmaceuticals, maker of SmartMouth Mouthwash, was invited on TODAY to offer tips on how to have fresh breath.

Most people think bad breath comes from the stomach. Not true. At least 90 percent of all bad breath is caused by millions of bacteria that naturally exist in your mouth. They produce a nasty-smelling gas — that’s bad breath. 

Can anyone get bad breath?Everyone has bad breath every day. We all wake up in the morning with that horrible morning breath, and our breath becomes stale throughout the day. It’s a problem we all share as human beings. And it’s so embarrassing, people hate to even talk about it and your best friend won’t even tell you.

Can you smell your own breath?People think they can smell their own breath by breathing into their hand and sniffing, but the truth is, you can’t smell your own breath.  So you may be offending someone and you just don’t know it.

What products give you a fresher mouth?
Gums, mints, breath sprays and breath strips all provide a wonderful burst of freshness and flavor throughout the day. But they don’t really do much for bad breath. They simply mask odor and are very short-term at best. They taste great, though.

Mouthwashes do a better job of getting rid of bad breath — not just masking it.

  • Germ killers: The first generation of mouthwashes to be developed is the germ killers — we’ve all heard “kills the germs that cause bad breath.” They do kill germs, but they don’t kill all of them. And germs grow back quickly, so they primarily just mask bad breath and their effect is short-term at best. Examples include Scope and Listerine.
  • Odor eliminators: The second generation consists of odor eliminators, mostly oxidizers. They actually eliminate bad breath when you rinse with them. However, they don’t do anything to the germs to stop them from producing new bad breath, so, once again, they only work short term. Examples include TheraBreath and Closys II.
  • Odor eliminators and preventors: The third generation of mouthwashes not only eliminates bad breath, but also prevents it.  Like the second-generation products, these eliminate existing bad breath when you rinse. Some use zinc ion technology to prevent bad breath from recurring. An example includes SmartMouth.