Summer foods to avoid to keep your breath fresh

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX  -- Ever wonder if you have bad breath? It's a problem that can become worse in the summertime, what with all the bean dishes and onion dips at those backyard barbecues.

"America's Bad Breath Doctor" joined us Monday morning with tips on summer foods and drinks to avoid to help keep your breath fresh.

Dr. Harold Katz says bad breath can be measured by a "halimeter," an instrument that measures the sulfur in your breath. "Sulfur is produced from bacteria," he says. "Or it's from onions and garlic. Then your breath is offensive."

Want a home test? You can  lick the back of your hand, wait a few seconds, then smell your skin. "Those sulfur compounds mixed with your saliva, once the liquid evaporates, they'll stick to your hand."

The appearance of your tongue is also an indicator. "Your tongue tells you a lot about your breath," Dr. Katz says. "If your tongue is pink and shiny, that's good," he says. "That means you have plenty of saliva and everything's in balance. If it's white or coated, that's bad."

Anything that has sulfur is going to give you bad breath. "Onions, garlic, curry," he says. "But also foods that stimulate the bacteria. Proteins and things like cheese are a problem. Sugar's a problem. Alcohol's a problem; it makes your mouth more dry.

He advises drinking lots of water. Berries can also help freshen your breath.

Dr. Katz is a graduate of the UCLA School of Dentistry, and holds a separate degree in Bacteriology, also from UCLA. He is the founder of the California Breath Clinics and the author of the "Bad Breath Bible."

For more information and a free online breath test, visit www.therabreath.com.