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What Causes Bad Breath? Everything You Need To Know

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Bad breath, or halitosis, can be an embarrassing situation for many people. In fact, some studies have reported that around 30% of the adult population has bad breath

While it’s most often related to poor oral hygiene, bad breath can also be caused by other factors, such as poor diet, certain medical conditions, and even stress. Fortunately, there are ways to treat it, such as proper oral hygiene and lifestyle changes. However, it’s important to first understand the cause of your bad breath so you can identify the source of the problem and take steps to fix it.

 Common causes of bad breath

There are various reasons why you might have bad breath, but some of the most common causes are:

  • Poor oral hygiene due to a lack of brushing and flossing
  • Dry mouth 
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Certain foods like garlic, onion and some spicy foods

In addition to these, some medical conditions, such as diabetes, acid reflux and liver or kidney disease, can also cause bad breath. 

Diagnosis of bad breath

Bad breath is diagnosed primarily through self-assessment or through a detailed assessment from a medical or dental professional. 

Self-assessment can involve taking a gag test, rinsing the mouth with water, or using a breath freshener to check for a lasting effect. Professionals may use a device known as a halimeter, which measures the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth, as well as visual assessment and laboratory testing. Treatment options depend on the underlying cause and can range from lifestyle changes to medication use.


Treatments for bad breath

Bad breath can often be easily treated and cured. If you have any of the common causes of bad breath, you can try one or more of the following to cure your bad breath: 

  • Proper oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth and tongue every day, rinsing your mouth with water after eating, and cleaning between your teeth with dental floss every few days. 
  • Changing your diet and eating less fatty foods, spicy foods, and sugary foods.
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking too much soda.
  • Using a dental mouthwash or antiseptic mouthwash.
  • Using breath fresheners, sprays, and tablets.

How to prevent bad breath

There are a few lifestyle changes that you can try to prevent bad breath, including: 

  • Avoiding oral hygiene habits that can cause bad breath, such as not brushing your teeth and tongue every day, and not flossing your teeth every few days.
  • Visiting your dentist regularly for a dental check-up and clean to keep your mouth and gums healthy and free of bacteria.
  • Eating healthy meals, avoiding fatty foods, and drinking plenty of water.
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating and brushing your teeth after every meal can help decrease the number of bacteria in your mouth and decrease your chance of experiencing bad breath. 
  • Avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco, which can increase your chances of developing bad breath. 

How to treat bad breath

Although it is important to see your dentist regularly for regular dental checkups, you can try some other home remedies to treat bad breath. 

  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating and brushing your teeth after every meal, especially after consuming fatty foods.
  • Use a tongue scraper on the side of your tongue to remove any buildup of bacteria and help improve your oral hygiene.
  • Chew gum that contains menthol, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint, and wintergreen, which can help reduce bacteria in your mouth and reduce bad breath. 

When to see a doctor

Bad breath is usually treatable, but it can also be a sign of an underlying health problem. If your bad breath is persistent or severe, or if you notice other symptoms that suggest bad breath could be a sign of a serious health problem, you should see your doctor. 

Disclaimer: The material posted is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Results vary with each patient. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits. If you have any specific questions about any dental and/or medical matter, you should consult your dentist, physician or other professional healthcare providers.

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Great experience! Dr Warren is a great dentist who is gentle and really experienced. He has a great bedside manner that puts patients at ease!

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