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It’s easy to wonder how to help bad breath go away because the cause isn’t always something you ate – dry mouth often plays a part at some point. Oral deficiencies like dry mouth are normal symptoms of everyday stress, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and many usual life events are stressful enough to cause it: a job interview, first date or something that can make an unpleasant smell just as embarrassing.

Rest assured there are simple and discreet ways to combat dry mouth. Consider these methods the next time you want to make a great first impression.

Stress and Dry Mouth

Decreased saliva flow is the primary reason for dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath. In other words, stress results in dry mouth because it contributes to this decrease in saliva flow.

How? Dehydration and breathing through the mouth contribute to dry mouth, and in stressful situations, you may be too busy to eat, drink or breathe normally. That’s why dry mouth may be more likely when, for example, you are at a job interview or on a first date.

Reduce Your Stress, Resolve Bad Breath

The best strategy for dry mouth is to reduce your stress level, and it’s easier than it sounds. Plus, once you feel calmer, dry mouth can subside on its own. Taking deliberate breaths through your nose is one simple way to become more calm. Try not to breathe too quickly, but rather breathe in and out at a slow and even rhythm.

Another strategy is to drink water even if you aren’t thirsty. When you hydrate your body, you’re inevitably hydrating your mouth, allowing it to wash away potent bacteria and salivate again. Try to avoid alcohol, coffee or tea, as they are actually dehydrating. Ultimately, you can enlist a friend for extra support. A quick phone call or text may be just enough to relieve your worries and have you smiling with fresh breath again.

Increase Saliva Flow and Reduce Dry Mouth

There are numerous quick tips to increase your natural flow of saliva, in addition to water. Chewing sugarless gum will increase saliva production, but remember to discard the gum before you enter an important meeting or other formal setting!

Lemon juice also stimulates the salivary glands, so asking for lemon with your glass of water is a good approach on a dinner date. Xylitol sugarless lozenges will also help to stimulate saliva flow and prevent cavities. Remember to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste before and after the event.

Of course, if you need to know how to help bad breath get better over the long term, start by taking care of your daily oral health. The best way to prevent dry mouth and the resulting bad breath is by following a daily routine of oral hygiene. Little changes in these habits can make your face-to-face encounters way more fun. Colgate® 2in1 Toothpaste & Mouthwash, for example, allows you to freshen your breath in no extra time.

If you maintain a daily routine of proper oral hygiene, one thing will lead to another, and you will be less likely to experience those smelly moments.