Health: Sweet breath of success

Having bad breath is one of the most embarrassing social problems. But you don't have to suffer in silence by being too scared to open your mouth…


* Bad breath is caused by sulphur released from bacteria that live on the back of the tongue so you can check your breath by licking the back of your hand – when the saliva has gone, the sulphur will remain to give you those tell-tale sour notes.


* If there's an important event coming up, avoid sugar, meat, cheese, onions and garlic which contain proteins that help the bacteria grow.


* Drink lots of water to help your mouth produce saliva to wash down the sulphur. Brush your tongue as well as your teeth. But be careful of mouthwashes as they can contain alcohol that makes the mouth drier – if bad breath doesn't improve or actually gets worse, give them a break.


* Snack on celery and carrots between brushing – they're high in water content and rough enough to wash down the sulphur.