Your Worst Bad Breath Situations -- Solved

It happens to the best of us: Your day is going as planned when a foul mouth odor creeps up on you -- and on everyone within breathing distance. Well, bad breath doesn’t have to embarrass you. We got Dr. Matthew Messina, an Ohio-based dentist and the American Dental Association’s consumer advisor spokesman, to give some easy fixes for all your biggest bad breath fears.

1. You have garlic breath but can’t brush your teeth right now.
Bad Breath Fix:
Go to the bathroom and swish and spit (or swish and swallow) some water as vigorously as possible. “The goal is to remove as much debris as possible from the mouth and the tongue,” says Messina. “You should almost feel like you’re chewing the water in your mouth.” If you have a napkin handy, you can also wipe the top of your tongue and rub it vigorously for a few seconds, trying to get as much of the coating off as possible.

2. Even after brushing your teeth, you can still smell the onions from last night’s dinner.
Bad Breath Fix:
Like in the garlic situation, the bacteria in the onions are trapped in all of the little crevices in your tongue. Try brushing again, focusing on the surface of your tongue this time. Messina suggests holding the tip of your tongue with one hand and brushing the top, as well as both sides. “Holding your tongue with your nondominant hand stabilizes it and can help minimize your gag reflex,” says Messina.

3. Five minutes before a big meeting, you get a whiff of your coffee breath.
Bad Breath Fix:
Mouthwash can be a great temporary solution if you don’t have access to a toothbrush. Vigorously rinsing with it will help dislodge the bacteria and plaque that create the bad smell. If you regularly drink coffee, consider storing a toothbrush at work to avoid future embarrassment.

4. Ever since you started dieting, your breath simply stinks.
Bad Breath Fix:
Certain diets (like a low-carb one, for example) change the way your body metabolizes sugars, resulting in bad breath. Other health issues can have similar effects. (Diabetes is another known cause of odd mouth odors.) Unfortunately, no amount of brushing or flossing will help in this type of situation. Messina suggests consulting your dentist for a solution.

5. You just met someone interesting at a party and want to check if you have bad breath.
Bad Breath Fix:
No, breathing into a cupped hand won’t work. “There’s really no significant way that you can check your own breath,” says Messina. “If you’re that curious, ask a friend.” Otherwise, your best bet is to brush or pop a sugar-free mint just in case. (That old wives’ tale about whiskey killing bacteria in your mouth isn’t true.)

6. Despite brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, you still have terrible breath.
Bad Breath Fix:
“There are certain situations where people’s mouths will get colonized by a particularly nasty group of bacteria,” says Messina. In this situation, you may want to try using an antibacterial rinse. (It will be in the mouthwash aisle but should specifically say “antibacterial” on the label.) If that doesn’t work, visit your dentist; a prescription treatment may be necessary.

How do you combat bad breath?

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5 Secrets of Success That Celebrities Live By

Yes, stars look great. Yes, they’re charming. And yes, they have talent. But it takes a lot more than that to have a successful career and life in Hollywood. Our experts evaluate five famous faces and the secrets of success they applied to achieve their goals.

Success Secret No. 1: Celebrities have a dream.
Beyonce had always wanted to be a performer. That dream has governed her life, from helping her form her first group at just 9 years old to releasing her first solo album in 2003. “Successful people are driven, which allows them to make a total commitment to their dreams,” says Marc Fenton, a life coach at Empire Life Coaching in New York City.

Fortunately, there’s no expiration date on aspirations, so you can follow yours no matter what your age. But you do need to set a specific goal and plot out the steps you need to take to achieve success. If you’re having trouble sticking to the plan, try networking -- both online and in person. A mentor can give you advice, guidance and feedback.

Success Secret No. 2: Celebrities work hard.

Despite their glamorous lifestyles, celebrities actually toil at their craft a lot. “Many of them have workaholic tendencies,” says Andrea Syrtash, a life coach and advice columnist in New York City. Television stars like Courteney Cox often put in 18-hour days shooting. “But even pretty faces can’t just show up,” says Fenton. You have to be driven and willing to work hard to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals, he says. If you love what you’re doing, as most celebrities do, it won’t really seem like work and therefore it will be easier to invest the time and find success.

Success Secret No. 3: Celebrities create their own opportunities.

Smart people pounce on opportunity, even if it’s not a traditional path to success, says Fenton. Elisabeth Hasselbeck wasn’t experienced in broadcast journalism but managed to land a chair on “The View” after a stint on “Survivor.” Bethenny Frankel parlayed her role on “The Real Housewives of New York City” into best-selling books and a line of premixed cocktails, as well as her own series, “Bethenny Ever After.

We can learn from these examples. “Two women in Vermont made simple brownies that are a global sensation,” says Fenton. Shawna Lidsky and Katherine Hayward, co-founders of Vermont Brownie Co., may never have had a chance to be pastry chefs at a four-star restaurant (a more typical aspiration), but they found a way to create their own success.

Success Secret No. 4: Celebrities make their health a priority.

Sure, the main reason celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow eat their veggies and hit the gym is so they look great on the big screen or the red carpet. But Paltrow also knows that eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising help her stay healthy overall, a quest she chronicles on her website, “Like all mothers, Paltrow has a lot of juggling to do,” says Syrtash. “But eating well, sleeping well and exercising contributes to your mental health and helps you have the physical and emotional stamina to keep going.”

Success Secret No. 5: Celebrities build support systems.

To find strength and confidence, it’s important to have someone in your life who makes you feel like your best self, not who you look good with. Julia Roberts, like many stars, dated a string of celebrities but only found lasting love when she started dating an unknown cameraman, Danny Moder. “She has said in interviews that they have great communication and that they’re growing together,” observes Syrtash, who has also written He’s Just Not Your Type. In contrast, some women date men who have big personalities. These men like attention, they’re flirtatious, but they may not be focused on the woman’s needs. 

Share your biggest secrets of success below or tweet @Completely_You (#CYSuccessSecrets)


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Beat the Winter Blues

Living a healthy, active lifestyle gets harder when the temperatures drop and you suddenly feel the winter blues coming on. Instead of holing up for months, incorporate these seven easy tweaks into your daily routine, and soon your happy days will be back again.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 1: Listen to Music.
Whether you’re a fan of Michael Jackson or Michael Buble, play one of their most cheerful songs today. According to a recent British study, people who listened to an uplifting song felt happier after just 15 seconds.

Winter Blues Remedy No 2: Get Sun Exposure.
“A lack of sunlight can disrupt the body’s sleep-wake cycle,” says Michael Terman, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “That can lead to sluggishness and depression.” Get your body back in sync by soaking up sunlight first thing in the morning. Raise the blinds, eat breakfast in a sunny room or walk a lap around the block before heading into the office. If you’re feeling particularly blue, you may want to consider investing in a light therapy box, a device that mimics sunshine. They typically cost between $100 and $200.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 3: Go Outside.
Bundle up for a short stroll in a park or on a tree-lined street. Exercising in nature for a mere five minutes is enough to lift your spirits, say researchers from Britain’s University of Essex. Stuck in a snowdrift? Spend some time next to a window that overlooks the backyard. Other research reveals that simply gazing at the great outdoors can increase energy and improve your outlook.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 4: Enhance Your Sleep.
After you brush your teeth, wash your face and set the alarm, add this move to your bedtime ritual: Lie with your legs leaning up against the wall. “This move relieves stress and boosts circulation, so you can sleep soundly and feel refreshed the next day,” says Jamie Segal Hanley, a yoga instructor and owner of Elevate Yoga in Hazlet, N.J. Start by rolling up a blanket and placing it lengthwise next to a wall. Sit on the blanket with your left side against the wall, knees bent toward your chest. Using your arms for support, place your shoulders on the ground while pivoting your feet up the wall. Inhale and exhale -- to the count of six -- for five to 15 minutes.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 5: Exercise.
Before you make plans with your couch and remote, consider this: A recent study from The University of Vermont shows that exercise can give you that post-workout glow for up to 12 hours. You don’t have to go for a grueling run in the snow to reap those benefits. Exercisers got that effect from just 20 minutes of moderate cycling on a stationary bike.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 6: Eat Nuts.
“Walnuts, along with flax and fatty fish, are high in omega-3s,” says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian in New York City. These healthy fats -- which are found in brain cells -- have been linked to assuaging symptoms of depression, so toss some nuts in your salad. Plus, the folic acid in spinach can also chase away the blues. For an even bigger boost, pair your salad with a whole-grain roll. “Carbs increase the production of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin,” says Richter.

Winter Blues Remedy No. 7: Smile!
Just the act of lifting the corners of your mouth immediately improves your mood, according to many studies, including recent research published in the journal Emotion.

What are your favorite remedies for a case of the winter blues? Share below or join the conversation @Completely_You 

2012: Your Year of Passion

For most men, libido is a drive that propels them toward lovemaking. But recent studies show that when many women -- perhaps most -- begin sexual encounters, they feel erotically neutral. Then, according to Rosemary Basson, a clinical professor of psychiatry at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, if they enjoy the sex, they experience desire. In other words, for many women, possibly a majority, desire is not the cause of sex, but the result.

The idea that desire follows good sex turns conventional notions of libido upside down. But Basson’s insight can help men and women better understand each other and enjoy greater sexual satisfaction. Here’s how:

Start a Slow Burn

Since Viagra, drug companies have been hot to develop drugs that pique desire in women. But if Basson is correct -- and every sexologist I’ve interviewed thinks she is -- then drugs and supplements may be putting the erotic cart before the horse. The question is not “What provokes women’s desire?” The real question is, “What kind of lovemaking allows women to feel relaxed and cherished enough to enjoy sex and eventually experience desire?”

That’s easy. Women need warm-up time. Many sex surveys show that what women say they enjoy most is leisurely, playful, sensual lovemaking based on whole-body mutual massage that eventually (after 30 to 45 minutes) leads to genital caresses. Women’s top erotic complaint is that men are too rushed and too focused on their breasts and genitals, that men are all finished before women have even become interested. Viewed through the lens of Basson’s work, this makes perfect sense. The classic male “wham, bam” style of sex doesn’t allow women the time they really need to feel sufficiently relaxed and valued so they can experience desire.

So, ladies, if you’re “slow” to become aroused, you’re normal. If you like lots of kissing and cuddling and massage before genital sex, you’re normal.

And gentlemen, if you want her to feel turned on, slow down, then slow down even more. Kiss her, hold her close and gently caress every square inch from her scalp to her feet before you touch her breasts or genitals.

Get Past Your Desire Differences

After relationships’ initial hot-and-heavy period (six months to a year), desire cools, and one person (usually the man) wants sex more than the other (typically the woman). Desire differences are virtually inevitable in long-term relationships and often become a festering sore. This joke always gets a grim rise out of men: “What’s foreplay to a man married 10 years? An hour of pleading.” Today, desire differences are a leading reason why couples try sex therapy.

Therapy is a good choice. Sex therapists have developed a deceptively simple yet remarkably effective program for resolving desire differences: Negotiate how often you’d like to make love, then pull out your calendars and schedule it in advance.

What If You’re Not in the Mood?

Of course, this opens a can of worms. Many people have strong feelings about sexual frequency, and many lower-desire folks cringe at scheduling, saying, “What if I’m not in the mood?”

There’s no “normal” sexual frequency, but for the record, the University of Chicago’s landmark “Sex in America” survey showed that from age 20 to 60, most couples make love from twice a week to twice a month, with younger lovers having sex more frequently than those over 40.

As for reluctance to schedule sex, women who feel that way are probably in the large group Basson has identified, those who don’t experience desire until they’re well into good sex. Sex therapists urge lower-desire lovers to temporarily shelve their doubts and try scheduling for a few months. If they don’t like it, they’re free to stop. But typically, initial reluctance yields to a pleasantly surprised admission that scheduling works quite well. It also improves things out of bed. It reduces resentments and contributes to a happier relationship.

Basson’s research focuses only on women. But therapists say that in serious desire differences, one-third of the time, the lower-desire partner is the man. It’s possible that these men are like so many women, not interested until things heat up.

If you have a serious, long-term desire difference, I’d urge you to try a few months of sex therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research or the American Board of Sexology.

Like this article? Share your thoughts below or connect with us @Completely_You

“Best Advice I Ever Got”: Health Secrets Experts Swear By

Good health advice is hard to come by. But when it does, it’s worth keeping and passing on to those you care about. We asked a variety of health experts for their best morsels of wisdom, based on the smartest advice they ever got. Here’s what they said:

“See me as your dentist … but tell me about the rest of you too.”

Elisa Mello, cosmetic dentist, NYC Smile Design

  • Best advice I ever got: “The eyes may be the windows to your soul, but the mouth is the window to your overall health,” my instructor said in my second year of dental school. From her, I learned to look at a patient from both a dental and a medical perspective, since underlying health issues often contribute to teeth and gum problems.
  • Best advice for you: Thoroughly fill out the medical forms your dentist gives you. Even if they seem irrelevant, tell your dentist about medical problems, such as diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, bulimia, anemia or vitamin deficiencies.

“Take easy steps for sweeping changes.”

Molly Kimball, registered dietitian, Elmwood Fitness Center, New Orleans

  • Best advice I ever got: Nudge clients out of their comfort zones without pushing them too hard to make drastic changes they’re uncomfortable with. The behavioral therapist who told me this reconfirmed my own belief that gently steering people in a healthier direction rather than turning their world upside down has longer-lasting effects.
  • Best advice for you: You don’t need to overhaul your lifestyle or have a perfect diet to be healthy. Instead, find small improvements that fit into your routine: Swap your usual high-calorie blended coffee for a skinny latte, for example, or keep frozen veggies on hand instead of constantly worrying about getting fresh produce. Small, easy steps can add up to lasting change.

“Tell your story like a two-minute Hollywood pitch.”

Dr. Davis Liu, family physician and author, Sacramento, Calif.

  • Best advice I ever got: It was in my fourth year of medical school when my instructor said, “It’s her story … listen!” Indeed, 90 percent of nailing the right diagnosis is getting a patient’s whole medical history, including current symptoms.
  • Best advice for you: When you share your history with your doctor, make it short but highlight important symptoms: when they started, where they’re located, how they feel and how they affect you. Doctors interrupt many patients in 23 seconds because they think they’ve heard your story before. But if you tell your story right, your doctor can’t help but listen, which means you’re likely to get better care and treatment.

“Don’t get everything done today.”

Alice Domar, Ph.D., director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, Waltham, Mass.

  • Best advice I ever got: Make the distinction between what’s essential and what’s optional. My husband gave me this gem of advice on our honeymoon in Greece. He had gone for a run, and when he returned, he found me sitting in our hotel room, jotting down a detailed list of all the things I needed to do when we got home -- everything from sending thank you notes to buying accent pillows for our couch! But he was right: Focusing only on the essential reduces stress magnificently.
  • Best advice for you: Separate the stuff you need to get done from what you’d like to get done, and prioritize. You're probably running around with a to-do list a mile long, but if you challenge the thoughts that say you need to do this and this and this, you’ll be saving yourself unnecessary stress.

Got questions for our experts? Ask below or tweet us @Completely_You