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Mouthwashes, gums, breath strips, mints and sprays are big sellers but the best breath fresheners are not in the aisle with the toothbrushes or by the cash registers.

While many of these artificial breath products kill germs or cover up offensive breath smells, all natural foods and herbs are healthier and some do more to remedy the source of bad breath than covering odors with artificial aromas.  Most mouthwashes contain alcohol that can dry out the saliva glands that your mouth uses to rid the mouth of bacteria. Gums and mints can include either sugar or sugar substitutes that may contain possible carcinogens. Gum also can damage dental work including fillings or braces.

Following are some ways you can fight halitosis and freshen your breath:

Eat or chew plants and herbs: The oils from parsley, basil, rosemary, cilantro, eucalyptus, dill, spearmint and others kill certain odor causing bacteria, aid digestion, and leave your breath smelling pleasant.

Drink green tea, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, or red wine. These are rich in polyphenol antioxidants that benefit the body in a number of different ways including combating plaque and sulfur producing bacteria.

Eat probiotic yogurt with active cultures. Introducing good bacteria from yogurt is a good way to overpower the bacteria that causes bad breath.

Eat citrus and other fruits. Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, berries, melons and other vitamin C rich fruits breakdown bacteria that causes bad breath.

Chew on cinnamon sticks, mint leaves or slices of ginger root. These can be chewed and discarded or added to tea.

Drink plenty of water. Not only does drinking water support general health, it helps to wash the mouth of bacteria and particles that cause bad breath. Be sure to drink six to eight glasses and take a few moments once a day to gargle, swish and flush your mouth.

Try adding some of these approaches to your daily brushing and flossing routine and decide which ones make a difference for you.