What is halitosis?

Halitosis is simply another term for bad breath, but where do those unpleasant odors come from and what can you do to keep your breath fresh? Keep reading to find out.

What’s behind bad breath?
There are a variety of things that can cause bad breath—some common culprits include:

  • Food: Plenty of foods can leave your breath smelling worse, but foods with garlic or onion are common causes of bad breath. Coffee can also leave a distinct odor on your breath.
  • Dry mouth: The saliva in your mouth plays an important role in killing bacteria and keeping your mouth clean. When your mouth is dry and there isn’t enough saliva to kill bacteria, those bacteria cause unpleasant odors. One reason most people have bad breath in the mornings is that their mouths are dry from going hours without drinking water.
  • Infection: Bad breath is often a sign of a bigger problem. It is a common sign of gum disease and other oral health issues. If you have chronic bad breath, you should schedule a checkup with your dentist.
  • Tobacco products: Tobacco products cause bad breath for a few reasons. First, tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco smell bad, so when you use them, your breath smells worse. Second, tobacco products can contribute to infections, gum disease, and other long-term oral health problems that result in bad breath.

Combating bad breath
Bad breath can be embarrassing, but there are things you can do to eliminate it. Using gum or mints can help keep your mouth from drying out and mask unpleasant odors. Drinking water throughout the day can also keep bad breath at bay.

In order to really combat bad breath, you’ll need to step up your oral hygiene—most bad breath is caused by bacteria that is inside the mouth whether it is near the gums, on the teeth, or on the back of the tongue. To keep your mouth free of bacteria, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes after each meal, floss every single day, clean your tongue when you brush your teeth, and use a mouthwash that kills bacteria.

For more advice, schedule an appointment at Centennial Dental Center.

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