Stay Protected – Personal Care Product Blog

It’s Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year! Get your sunscreen ready.

In case you missed it: June 21st is the summer solstice.

A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most inclined toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun’s apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme. The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun’s path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.

Of the many ways in which solstice can be defined, one of the most common (and perhaps most easily understood) is by the astronomical phenomenon for which it is named, which is readily observable by anyone on Earth: a “sun-standing.” This modern scientific word descends from a Latin scientific word in use in the late Roman republic of the 1st century BC: solstitium. Pliny uses it a number of times in his Natural History with the same meaning that it has today. It contains two Latin-language segments, sol, “sun”, and -stitium, “stoppage.” The Romans used “standing” to refer to a component of the relative velocity of the Sun as it is observed in the sky. Relative velocity is the motion of an object from the point of view of an observer in a frame of reference. From a fixed position on the ground, the sun appears to orbit around the Earth.

Here are some great, fun facts about the summer solstice:

  • Today the North Pole is tipped closer to the sun than on any other day of 2010. The opposite holds true for the Southern Hemisphere, for which today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
  • While the June solstice generally occurs on the same day every year, the date does change every once in a while. For example, in 2008, the summer solstice occurred on June 20.
  • This date shifting is a result of the discrepancy between a human calendar year—which is usually counted as 365 days—and an astronomical year, which is 365.25 days.
  • It is not the solstice across the globe. People in the Southern hemisphere will experience summer solstice in December.

Oobleck: Fun Summer Activity

Oobleck is a fun science experiment that’s perfect for entertaining both kids and adults. If you haven’t seen it in action it’s very fascinating stuff and before too long you’ll have your hands covered with it, happily making a mess that can be washed away with water.

Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid (it acts like a liquid when being poured, but like a solid when a force is acting on it).  You can grab it and then it will ooze out of your hands. Make enough Oobleck and you can even walk on it!

Oobleck gets its name from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck where a gooey green substance, Oobleck, fell from the sky and wreaked havoc in the kingdom.

Teaching Children Good Hygiene

Getting our kids to practice good hygiene habits now can save them from a lot of sick days in the future. Most children will only acknowledge that their hands need to be washed once they are visibly dirty (some won’t even then).

  • Wash your hands often, and do it in front of your kids. Wash your hands with soap and water, when available, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if necessary.  As a precaution use an antibacterial  soap any time you are dealing with food.
  • Make good hygiene a fun practice. Buy soaps in the shape of animals or their favorite show character.  Some soaps come with toys inside, small children will be excited to work their way down to the toy.
  • Explain to children why you are washing your hands, even when they appear clean to them. If they can identify with the reasoning behind good practice they will take ownership of that new information.
  • Establish patterns and routines around good hygiene.  Children operate well with established routines.
  • Point out that poor hygiene and poor health go hand in hand.

Summer Survival Kit

Well, it’s finally here….Summer. The kids are out of school, the yard needs mowed, and the temperatures are starting to heat up.

It’s time to get ready for all those trips;  Trips to the pool, the zoo, camping, the park, company picnics….and so on, and so forth.

You can make these better by preparing now. Put together a summer survival kit with commonly needed items. You can keep a kit in the car and have a portable one that will fit in most beach bags or moderately sized purses. Being ready ahead of time will save grief and aggravation down the road (figuratively and literally).

Hand Sanitizer:

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.[1]

When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

Wet Wipes:

Wet wipes or moist toilettes are small moistened paper towels that can be used to cleanse the hands, refresh the face, or commonly to clean up the diaper area when you are changing a baby. The first types of wet wipes came in small individual packages, and usually were moistened with scented water. The rubbing action of wet wipes did help to get the hands or face a little clean, but many people used them more to refresh than to cleanse.


Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Put sunscreen on before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer of sunblock on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours, and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.

Lip Balm:

A common misconception is that the lips on a person’s face do not need protection from the sun. This is untrue, and people definitely need protection for their lips against the sun. Lips can become sunburned and excessive exposure to the sun’s rays has been linked to lip cancer. The best way to provide protection against the sun for our lips to apply a lip balm or lip gloss that contains sunscreen.

The primary purpose of lip balm is to provide an occlusive layer on the lip surface to seal moisture in lips and protect them from external exposure. Dry air, cold temperatures and wind all have a drying effect on skin by drawing moisture away from the body. Lips are particularly vulnerable because the skin is so thin, and thus they are often the first to present signs of dryness. Occlusive materials like waxes and petroleum jelly prevent moisture loss and maintain lip comfort while flavorants, colorants, sunscreens and various medicaments can provide additional, specific benefits.

OraLabs Lip Balm is tested and proven to help in the prevention of dry, chapped and wind burned lips. Order from available in stock items or create your own custom formula (All Naturals & SPF options available).

Eye Drops:

Whether you are a contact wearer or not, keeping eye drops in your kit will cover a number of incidents that are common to summer adventures. Itchy, dry eyes can sneak up on us when we spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. A quick micro-burst can kick up dust, dirt and allergens. The bottles are typically small and compact and won’t take up too much extra room. Eye drops are one of things you’d rather have when you really need them, so plan ahead.

Allergy Medicine:

Any good antihistamine should cover a broad spectrum of common allergy emergencies that pop up. It’s not a bad idea to keep Hall’s cough drops in your kit as well, these provide a nice quick relief while waiting for the allergy medicine to take effect.

Stay prepared, stay protected this Summer. Now get out there and have fun!

Wear Sunscreen

In 1997, Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich began her column with two words: “Wear Sunscreen” and continued with discursive advice for living without regret. She wrote this piece as a ‘would-be’ commencement address of advice if she were ever asked to give one.

In 1999, Baz Luhrmann released a song called “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” in which this column is read word for word as written by Schmich.

Enjoy a quick trip down memory lane, perhaps you remember this?

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Dry, Chapped Lips? Exfoliate them!

Exfoliating lips becomes necessary when lips become chapped or discolored. There are various reasons for dry chapped lips, out of which cold weather is one. Other reasons for chapped lips include, smoking, over-exposure to sun, dehydration, breathing with an open mouth etc. The major reason for discoloration of lips is excessive smoking. Over exposure to sun or frequent intake of coffee or tea can also cause discoloration. Now that we know why exfoliating of lips is necessary, let’s learn how to exfoliate lips at home.

Exfoliate Lips With Sugar

Sugar being a natural abrasive, can remove dead cells easily and so, it is one of the best natural skin care exfoliant. To get best results, mix equal amounts of olive oil in sugar and stir till if forms a paste. Put the mixture on your lips and leave it for a minute. After a minute, wipe off the paste with a damp cloth. Repeat the procedure for a few days.

Exfoliate Lips With Honey

Honey is one of the main ingredients in many cosmetics. The reason being hydrating capability of honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to two tablespoon of sugar. Stir the mixture till they form a paste. Apply the paste on clean lips, and leave it to dry. After the mixture dries up, wipe it off with a wet cloth. If you want some more flavor, you can add olive oil or rose water.

Exfoliate Lips With Toothbrush

What is the possible connection between toothbrush and exfoliate lips at home?  Well, a toothbrush can be used as a remedy for exfoliating lips! All you have to do is, apply a thick layer of moisturizer on the lips, stand in front of the mirror, take a toothbrush and start brushing your lips in a circular motion, but very gently! You are trying to exfoliate your lips, not scrape them! The moisturizer and the brush together will help to get rid of the dead skin, making the lips soft. Once the dead skin is removed, you do not need to repeat this method for skin care. You can use a baby toothbrush so that your lips don’t hurt.

Exfoliate Lips With Baking Soda

Add baking soda to water and form a paste. Apply the paste on the lips in a circular motion, as it will help the mixture to penetrate inside the lips. Leave the mixture on the lips for a minute and then wipe it off. The baking soda won’t moisturize the lips so remember to put lots of lip balm after this method.

Exfoliate Lips With Lemon Juice
Chapped lips can be treated best with lemon juice. Take a tablespoon of lemon juice and add one tablespoon of castor oil and glycerin in it, glycerin uses for skin are vast. Apply the mixture to the chapped lips and leave it overnight. Next morning rub off the mixture with a wet cloth. Lemon juice will remove the dead skin cells and glycerin will moisturize the lips. You can repeat this method to exfoliate lips at home, if necessary.

Exfoliate Lips With Rose Petals

Another way to exfoliate lips at home is to soak rose petals in milk, raw milk for a few hours. When the rose petals are completely soaked, make a paste out of it and apply on the chapped or dry lips. This will retain moisture and also add redness to the lips.

These were some of the easy ways to exfoliate lips at home. Along with the above remedies, also remember to follow simple things like, applying a sun screen lip balm to the lips while going out, drinking lots of water, avoid smoking etc. If you follow these rules, you will be blessed with healthy lips forever!

Bad Breath Tips

Let’s face it, bad breath is embarrassing. The good news is that for the most part—with proper dental care—bad breath, also called halitosis, can be avoided. Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, as bacteria that builds up on the back of your tongue or in between your teeth is the main culprit. Bad breath can be caused by foods, smoking, dry mouth, medical conditions, gum disease, and sinus conditions. No wonder dental hygiene is such big business.

If your halitosis hangs on for more than 24 hours without an obvious cause, call your dentist or doctor, says Roger P. Levin, D.D.S. It can be a sign of gum disease, gastrointestinal problems, sinus infection, bronchitis, or even more serious diseases, such as diabetes, liver or kidney failure, and cancer. Bad breath can also be a sign of dehydration or zinc deficiency.

Spice things up

Other herbs and spices in your kitchen are natural breath enhancers. Carry a tiny plastic bag of cloves, fennel, or anise seeds to chew after odorous meals.

Brush your tongue

“Most people overlook their tongues,” says Dr. Shapira. “Your tongue is covered with little hairlike projections, which under a microscope look like a forest of mushrooms. Under the caps of the ‘mushrooms,’ there’s room to harbor plaque and some of the things we eat. That causes bad breath.”

His advice? While brushing, gently sweep the top of your tongue, too, so that you don’t leave food and bacteria behind to breed bad breath.

Create your own gargle

Mix extracts of sage, calendula, and myrrh gum (all available at health food stores) in equal proportions and gargle with the mixture four times a day. Keep the mouthwash in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature.

Even when you can’t brush, you can rinse. Take a sip of water after meals, swish it around, and wash the smell of food from your mouth, says Jerry F. Taintor, D.D.S.

Eat your parsley

Parsley adds more than green to your lunch plate; it’s also a breath-saver, because it contains chlorophyll, a known breath deodorizer. So pick up that sprig garnishing your plate and chew it thoroughly. Or toss a few handfuls (even add some watercress to the mix) in a juicer. Sip the juice anytime you need to refresh your breath.

Watch your intake of odorous eats

Highly spiced foods like to linger long after the party’s over. Certain tastes and smells recirculate through the essential oils that they leave in your mouth. Depending on how much you eat, the odor can remain up to 24 hours, no matter how often you brush your teeth. Some foods to avoid include onions, hot peppers, and garlic.

Ease up on cheese

Camembert, Roquefort, and blue cheese are called strong for good reason—they get a hold on your breath and don’t let go. Other dairy products may have the same effect.

Ban certain beverages

Coffee, beer, wine, and whiskey are at the top of the list of liquid offenders. Each leaves a residue that can attach to the plaque in your mouth and infiltrate your digestive system. Each breath you take spews traces back into the air.

Carry a toothbrush

Some odors can be eliminated — permanently or temporarily — if you brush immediately after a meal. The main culprit in bad breath is a soft, sticky film of living and dead bacteria that clings to your teeth and gums, says Eric Shapira, D.D.S. That film is called plaque.

At any time, there are 50 trillion of these microscopic organisms loitering in your mouth. They sit in every dark corner, eating each morsel of food that passes your lips, collecting little smells, and producing little odors of their own. As you exhale, the bacteria exhale. So brush away the plaque after each meal and get rid of some of the breath problem.

Rinse out your mouth

Even when you can’t brush, you can rinse. Take a sip of water after meals, swish it around, and wash the smell of food from your mouth, says Jerry F. Taintor, D.D.S.

Gargle on minty mouthwash

If you need 20 minutes of freedom from bad breath, gargling with a mouthwash is a great idea. But like Cinderella’s coach-turned-pumpkin, when your time is up, the magic will be gone, and you’ll be back to talking from behind your hand again.

Chew a mint or some gum

Like mouthwash, a [kastooltip msg=”breath mint” tooltip=”Like Some Ice Drops, perhaps”] or minty gum is just a cover-up, good for a short interview, a short ride in a compact car, or a very short date.

Hand Sanitizer vs. Soap and Water

Which Kills Germs the Best?

To start with, it’s important to understand how soap works. Soap is an emulsifying agent, capable dispersing oil in water. When people wash their hands, dirt and germs trapped in the natural oils of the skin are lifted and suspended in water. Except for antibacterial soap, regular soap really isn’t capable of killing a lot of germs. What soap is good for is lifting germs from the skin.

Coating the Hands With Soap or Hand Sanitizer

Whether hand sanitizer or soap is being used, it’s important to adequately coat and spread the hands with cleanser to ensure that soap or hand sanitizer comes in contact with every part of the hand where germs might be lurking. This means that any jewelry should be removed before soaping up.

How Long to Rub Hands with Soap or Hand Sanitizer

Experts recommend that at least 20 seconds be spent lathering up. Counting to 20 or saying the alphabet is a good way to ensure that enough time is being spent covering the hands with soap. Care should be taken to apply the lather to the backs of the hands and between fingers. Don’t forget to clean under nails too, as germs find the perfect sanctuary beneath fingernails.

Drying Hands

If using soap, rinse thoroughly and use a clean towel, paper towel, or dryer to dry hands. If using hand sanitizer, continue rubbing till hands are dry. Use a paper towel, if possible, to turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door to prevent re-infecting the hands.

How Much Alcohol Should Be In Hand Sanitizer?

It’s recommended that hand sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol. The Food Safety Network’s fact sheet, “What are hand sanitizers?” (University of Guelph, 2003) reports that ethanol is more efficient at killing viruses than isopropanol.

Which Kills More Germs – Soap or Hand Sanitizer?

An ABC News report tested alcohol-based hand sanitizers, antibacterial soap and regular soap and found that alcohol-based hand sanitizers were able to kill more E. Coli bacteria on hands than either antibacterial or plain soap. They did not find a significant advantage in using antibacterial soap rather than regular soap. In fact, there are concerns that using antibacterial soap will only produce stronger, more resistant strains of bacteria.

Notes and Cautions on Using Hand Sanitizers

Because of the high percentage of alcohol used in hand sanitizers, it’s important to keep the following points in mind.

  • Don’t light up a cigarette right after using hand sanitizers. Alcohol is flammable.
  • Supervise children while they are using hand sanitizers. Some children have been known to ingest it by licking their hands, which could be harmful.
  • Cuts or scratches on hands may burn or sting when they come in contact with sanitizer.

Protecting kids from the sun

5 Tips for Kids Sun Protection

The temperature is heating up, and your kids are spending more time outdoors. They’re sweating; they’re swimming. TheyLake Kid need extra sun protection—and so do you!

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest during the summer, and unprotected skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes. While applying a SPF (sun protection factor) 30 sunscreen is important throughout the year, taking extra sun-safety precautions during the summer is especially important.

Try these tips on your next family trip to the beach, pool, playground, ballpark or amusement/water park.

1.      Put on extra sunscreen

“Kids who are sweating or swimming need to reapply sunscreen more often,” says Dennis Hughes, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric oncologist who takes care of children with melanoma at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson. “Reflective surfaces, such as water and sand, can intensify the sun’s rays and cause a greater burn.”

A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 protects the skin from the sun. Apply one ounce of sunscreen (about the size of a ping pong ball) to all sun-exposed areas of the body. Don’t forget the ears, feet and behind the neck.

Because sunscreen can take up to 30 minutes to go into full effect, it’s a good idea to apply it at home before you drive to the pool or beach.

“Don’t let the kids out the door without being fully covered with sunscreen,” Hughes says. “If they’re spending time at a summer camp, make sure you give the camp counselors extra sunscreen for reapplication throughout the day.”

2. Protect lips and eyes

Choosing the right sunglasses and lip balm also can provide added UV protection for parents and kids. Apply a lip balm that offers SPF protection and reapply throughout the day. Choose wrap-around sunglasses that absorb at least 99% of UV rays to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.

3. Wear sun-protective clothingsandcastle kid

While most people usually know to use sunscreen and sunglasses, few are aware of the availability of sun-protective clothing. Many companies offer a variety of sun-protective clothing with as much as ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) 50.

UPF indicates how much UV radiation can penetrate the fabric in clothing. For example, a shirt with UPF 30 means that just 1/30th of the sun’s UV radiation can reach the skin.

You can find swimsuits, hats, shirts, shorts and jackets that offer UPF protection in every color and size for both kids and adults.

“Certain items in your closet also may do the job,” says Susan Chon, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at MD Anderson. “Wear tightly woven, dark-colored fabrics.”

“These colors and fabrics offer more protection than others,” Chon says.

According to Chon, a long-sleeved shirt may offer sun protection; however, most light-weight cotton shirts used in the summer don’t offer more than UPF 10.

“A simple way to test your tee’s UV level is to hold it up to a light bulb. If you can see the light coming through, it probably isn’t offering you maximum protection.”

4. Find or make shade

It’s always a good idea to have a place where you and your family can find shade from the sun. Plan ahead.covered  park

“Seeking shade is especially important between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest,” Chon says.

Depending on the activity or location, one of the options below may work for you.

  • Choose parks with a covering over playgrounds. More parks are adding this feature to their kid’s play area.
  • Carry a large beach umbrella. Did you know you can buy umbrellas with UPF protection? You can find a variety of good ones online.
  • Put up a tent if you have the space. This is an especially good idea for large groups.
  • Choose seating areas near trees.

5. Make a travel size sun-safety kit

You never know what the day has in store. At the beginning of the summer, create a travel size kit with all the items you need to keep your family sun safe. Don’t leave home without it!

Here are some basic, portable items to put in your kit.

“These are great items to keep handy in your bag to prepare for the sun as it intensifies throughout the day,” Chon says.

credit to: MD Anderson Cancer Center

by Adelina Espat

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath, medically called [kastooltip msg=”Halitosis” tooltip=”halitosis /hal·i·to·sis/ (hal″ĭ-to´sis) offensive odor of the breath. hal·i·to·sis (h l -t s s). n. The condition of having foul-smelling breath”], can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems.  Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

How Does What You Eat Affect Breath?

Basically, all the food you eat begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.

Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.

Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate the gums.

What Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries.

The medical condition dry mouth (also called [kastooltip msg=”Xerostomia” tooltip=”xerostomia /xe·ro·sto·mia/ (zēr″o-sto´me-ah) dryness of the mouth due to salivary gland dysfunction.”]) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by the side effects of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:

  1. Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.
  2. See your dentist regularly – at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral examination and professional teeth cleaning and will be able detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.
  3. Stop smoking/chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
  4. Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.
  5. Keep a log of the foods you eat. If you think the foods that you eat may be causing your bad breath, record what you eat. Bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors.

Who Treats Bad Breath?

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your family doctor or to a specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan. If the odor is due to gum disease, for example, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum conditions.

What Products Can I Use to Eliminate Bad Breath?

You can buy a number of mouthwashes over-the-counter that claim to eliminate bad breath. However, keep in mind that many of these mouthwashes generally provide only a temporary way to mask unpleasant mouth odor. There are, however, several antiseptic mouth-rinse products available that instead of simply masking breath odor kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about which product is best for you.

For a quick easy cover-up when you are unable to treat the cause of your bad breath, breath mints, breath drops or breath sprays can be a safe and effective method of getting you through until you address your bad breath.