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What Can I Do if I have Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, not only tastes bad to you, it can smell bad to other people and be the result of some underlying health factor such as gum disease or poor digestion. It can be embarrassing and cause you anxiety. For the bad breath treatment, there are certain things you can do at home. Using over-the-counter remedies, such as mints, just doesn’t work and can even make it worse. Sometimes you may need to see your dentist or doctor, depending on the cause of your bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many causes of bad breath, mostly beginning with what’s in your mouth. They include the following:

  • Food. There can be an increase in bacteria in your mouth, especially around your teeth, during the breakdown of food particles.
  • Tobacco products. Smoking and chewing tobacco is one of the main causes of bad breath. Tobacco can also cause gum disease, another cause of bad breath.
  • Poor dental hygiene. Food particles stay in your mouth if you don’t brush and floss regularly. This can cause bad breath. These food particles will turn into bacteria, called plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on and in between your teeth. If you don’t get rid of the plaque, plaque-filled pockets will form in between your teeth, called periodontitis. Your tongue can also get bacteria that causes bad breath.
  • Dry mouth. When production of saliva is decreased, dry mouth, or xerostomia, can occur. When this happens, you can get bad breath because food particles aren’t washed away with your saliva. Because dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, you can get “morning breath,” which is worse if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth occurs because of some diseases, medications, or problems with the salivary glands.
  • Medications. Some medications cause dry mouth, which in turn, causes bad breath. Also, sometimes medications break down to produce chemicals which cause bad breath.
  • Infections in your mouth. After oral surgery, some patients may experience an infection if the area does not heal properly. This in turn can cause bad breath. In some cases, infections such as gum disease, tooth decay, or mouth sores can also cause bad breath.
  • Nose, throat, and other mouth conditions. Small stones sometimes form on the tonsils which are covered with bacteria that cause odor. Also, postnasal drip caused by infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat can cause bad breath.
  • Other causes. Some diseases, such as cancer, can cause bad odors in the mouth. Stomach diseases, such as acid reflux, can also cause bad breath.

9 Ways to Treat Bad Breath

There are nine ways you can effectively treat bad breath:

  1. Brush and floss more often.
  2. Rinse your mouth out.
  3. Scrape your tongue.
  4. Avoid foods that sour your breath.
  5. Stop smoking.
  6. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.
  7. Keep your gums healthy.
  8. Moisten your mouth.
  9. See your doctor.