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What Causes Bad Breath?

If you’ve ever gone on a first date, chances are you made sure to bring breath mints or gum along with you. Naturally, we tend to be more attracted to fresh, healthy-smelling mouths while halitosis (bad breath) can be the ultimate turn-off. So what causes bad breath? Here are some of the most common culprits.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Failing to regularly brush and floss your teeth can allow food particles to linger in your mouth. This promotes bacterial growth, and that bacteria is known to emit the foul-smelling odors we recognize as bad breath. 

The good news is this is easy to fix! Just make sure to brush and floss twice a day, and that should rid you of any lunch leftovers hiding among your teeth.

Dry Mouth

Xerostomia, or “dry mouth” can happen as a result of mouth-breathing, dehydration, taking certain medications, or an underlying medical condition. Not producing enough saliva due to dry mouth can contribute to bad breath.

Dental Issues

Severe dental conditions can also cause bad breath. Gum disease, tooth decay, and infections create perfect environments for bacteria while causing less-than-perfect smells. The best way to avoid these kinds of issues is to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to help identify and eliminate them early — before they start causing smelly problems.

Tongue Coating

When they’re not brushed regularly, our tongues can become magnets for bacteria, food debris, and dead cells that all clump together and form a sticky, odorous coating. This combination of bacteria and other materials living on your tongue can result in significant halitosis. There’s an easy fix, though: just brush your tongue! 

Certain Foods & Lifestyle Factors

Sometimes bad breath can simply be attributed by eating some extra-potent foods during your last meal, like garlic, onions, or strong spices. 

Other times, you can trace bad breath back to smoking and/or alcohol consumption habits.

The best thing is to be mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth, and consider carrying a travel toothbrush or sugar-free gum with you to lessen the effects of these kinds of things on your breath.

The next time you’re getting ready for a date or an important event, or even if you’re just worried about how your breath smells, do a quick run down this checklist: 

  • Am I brushing and flossing my teeth twice a day?
  • Have I been experiencing dry mouth recently?
  • Could I have any potential dental issues that need to be checked out?
  • Have I been brushing my tongue regularly?
  • Have I been consuming anything with strong smells lately, like garlic?

If you’re still concerned about your breath or want a dental professional to take a closer look, request an appointment today.

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