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Bad Breath Causes and Treatment

October 13th, 2011 Healthy Living

There's nothing worse than opening your mouth only to notice that whoever you're talking to is trying to conceal the fact that your breath is making him or her cringe. Many people suffer from bad breath, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are some of the most common culprits, as well as ways you can prevent bad breath, according to WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

Causes Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, can be caused by a number of things.

1. The food you eat. Foods with strong odors (like garlic and onions) are eventually absorbed into your bloodstream, and their oils are carried to your lungs. The scent is given off in your breath, and it can only be temporarily masked by brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. The odors don't go away until the food has completely left your body.

2. Poor hygiene. If you don't brush your teeth and floss daily, a lot of extra food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth.

3. Bad habits. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause bad breath - not to mention other serious conditions.

4. Health issues. Some conditions result in constant bad breath, like gum disease, dry mouth, respiratory tract infections, postnasal drip and diabetes. If you have constant bad breath without a known cause, you should see a doctor to rule out any problems.

Prevention Luckily there are ways to reduce pungent odors in your mouth.

1. Practice good hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and after you eat, floss, clean dentures if you have them and don't forget to brush your tongue!

2. Make regular dentist appointments - every six months or so.

3. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco.

4. Drink lots of water to keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum also stimulates more saliva, which washes away bacteria and food particles.

5. Keep track of the foods you eat or the medication you take and bring it to your doctor to review.