We have all had it happen, a close-talker with bad breath invades our space and shares more than just a sentence with us. Or maybe you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, always self-conscious, holding your palm up as a scent shield. The truth of the matter is, there is a social stigma attached to halitosis (more commonly referred to as bad breath). It&rsquo;s embarrassing, it can send the message that someone doesn&rsquo;t keep up with his or her oral hygiene and it can keep those around us from getting too close. The solution to this stinky problem can be as simple as drinking more water. One of the biggest causes of bad breath is a dry mouth, which can be a side effect of many medications. The combination of the high acidity and caffeine in coffee also results in a dry mouth. Like anywhere else in our bodies, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria in our mouths. For the good to thrive and the bad to call it a day, there must be a good pH balance in our oral environment. Not only does water keep us hydrated, but it can also flush out the bacteria and strong odors that linger from the food and drinks we consume. Maybe you reach for a bottle of mouthwash, but if it contains alcohol it can actually make your breath worse than before, as alcohol will only perpetuate the dryness. Even rinses that are alcohol-free can throw off the ever-important natural pH balance, so it&rsquo;s best to stick with the simplest of paths to fresher breath, and drink more water! One of Dentalways&rsquo; registered dental hygienists, Claranne, says there are other issues that might ignite that imbalance and result in bad breath. &ldquo;Mouth breathers and patients who tend to sleep with their mouths open almost always have halitosis. A sinus infection can cause odors because of the bacteria it creates, and people who experience acid reflux will notice its negative effects on their breath.&rdquo; (There&rsquo;s that pH balance, again!) Bad breath has a lengthy list of origins and quite possibly just as many suggested solutions. Another Dentalways hygienist, Alice, suggests brushing after coffee. &ldquo;If you find yourself in a situation where brushing is difficult, follow up your coffee with a glass of water to avoid coffee breath.&rdquo; &ldquo;Stay up to date on cleanings, replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months or after you&rsquo;ve been sick. Don&rsquo;t forget to floss or use one of my favorite things, a Waterpik!&rdquo; emphasizes Jessica M., Dr. Khullar&rsquo;s assistant. Dr. Khullar always stresses the importance of a commonly forgotten hygiene habit. &ldquo;One main key to eliminating bad breath is brushing your tongue. Bacteria hides & thrives in the millions of crevices on the tongue&rsquo;s surface.&rdquo; You can invest a couple bucks in a tongue scraper from your local drugstore, but your toothbrush should do the trick. Doing this can both improve and freshen breath for hours. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove and clean them thoroughly each night. Beware of sugary foods, alcohol and tobacco products. Remember to stay hydrated and, most importantly, if you have concerns about chronic bad breath that exceeds the occasional & normal awareness, call Dentalways at 501-753-7366 to schedule an appointment. Our discerning and responsive team can help determine and address the underlying causes of your halitosis. Your smile is the most important thing you&rsquo;ll wear &ndash; we&rsquo;d love to see and freshen yours!