Q: How do I avoid greeting my guests with dragon breath at the reception?

A: Staying away from onions, garlic, and curry is a no-brainer; they contain sulphur compounds that emit an unpleasant odor. So do cauliflower and brussels sprouts. "However, most bad breath is actually triggered by a chemical reaction between certain foods and the bacteria that lives in your mouth," says Dr. Harold Katz, a Los Angeles dentist and founder of the California Breath Clinic. Dairy products are some of the worst offenders, as are cola and coffee. And, says Katz, "the drier your mouth, the worse your breath." So go easy on the alcohol, cigarettes, and antihistamines, and drink lots of water. You can also try toting Listerine PocketPaks Oral Care Strips.

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