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posted: 7/28/2014 6:00 AM

Your health: Bad breath heats up in the summer

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  • Barbecue, beer, heat … all those summertime staples can add up to bad breath.

    Barbecue, beer, heat … all those summertime staples can add up to bad breath.
    Daily Herald File Photo


Bad breath heats up in the summertime

Nothing dims the fun season of summer more quickly than that great social buzz kill, bad breath.

"For a significant number of people, bad breath, also called halitosis, is an unnecessary embarrassment caused by malodorant sulfur compounds created by putrefying bacteria in your mouth, primarily in crevices of your tongue," says Dr. Bob Kross, the oral care scientist and inventor who created the Breath Appeal products that eliminate the excess, odor-causing bacteria.

Normal amounts of these bacteria will hardly affect your breath at all, but excessive levels can lead to bad breath and other serious oral problems, Kross says.

National Fresh Breath Day is Aug. 6 and a good time to look at the breath busters of summer. As you plan get-togethers, Kross suggests keeping the following in mind:

• Barbecue feeds more than your taste buds. "It's not pleasant to think about, but grilled meat can sit wedged in your teeth and tongue crevices for hours, and these particles feed the mouth's bacteria, increasing the risk of embarrassment associated with bad breath," Kross says.

• "Beer breath" is just one phase. Just as your favorite beer or cocktail leaves an unpleasant residual odor in your mouth, frequent and long-term alcohol consumption can throw your mouth's bacterial balance out of whack from dehydration.

• School is near. Fresh breath can help kids' social life. Make sure your student is practicing good oral hygiene this summer with regular brushing and flossing.

Measles cases at record high

It's now official: Measles cases in the United States are at their highest level since 2000, when the disease was declared eliminated -- meaning that regular, year-round transmission had been interrupted, The Washington Post reports.

This year 514 cases have been reported -- more than double the previous high, in 2011 -- and the number is expected to continue to climb.

One big reason is vaccine refusals. But 10 percent of the cases occurred in vaccinated individuals. And in one case a woman who had been vaccinated not only contracted the disease but also passed it along to others.

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