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Causes of Halitosis (Bad Breath) and Tips for Avoiding It

Halitosis is a condition in which a foul odor comes from a person’s mouth. In short, bad breath, and there can be a variety of causes. If you have it, you have to cure it not just to save you from embarrassment, but more importantly to protect you against an underlying health problem that could be manifesting as halitosis at this point.

The Tongue

About 90% of bad breath-causing bacteria live on the tongue. Particularly, these germs may be all over those tiny papillae, thus causing halitosis. Take a long, hard look at your tongue in the mirror. If you see some kind of coating, then you likely have bad breath. When brushing, people sometimes just focus on their teeth and ignore their tongue, which also needs regular cleaning. But a tongue scraper works better than a toothbrush when removing the coating.

Throat Issues

The bad odor from the mouth may also begin in the throat. One common throat condition that can cause halitosis is tonsillitis – infected tonsils and tonsil stones can lead to bad breath. Any kind of respiratory tract infection can also cause this condition – pneumonia, bronchitis, postnasal drip, etc.

Gastrointestinal Causes

Halitosis can also originate in the GI system. In people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acids – which may come with bile and undigested food – go back up to the esophagus, leading to bad breath. When vomiting becomes dehydrating, it can cause bad breath too as the mouth dries. Saliva keeps the mouth moist and helps remove bacteria and food particles.

Dental Issues

Dental health issues like gum disease and dental cavities are also likely causes of halitosis. So if you have any of those, you might want to have it fixed by your dentist before it causes bad breath, if it hasn’t. Yes, it might be a dental issue, or then again, it could be something else. Should your dentist decide it’s beyond dentistry, they will tell you and make the appropriate recommendations.

How to Fight Bad Breath

– Drink enough water everyday (dry mouth equals bad breath). – Take off and clean your dentures thoroughly before going to sleep. – Brush your teeth twice daily and floss everyday too. – Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. – Avoid tobacco and foods that leave a bad smell in the mouth, like raw garlic and onions. – Have more fennel seeds, aniseeds and cloves in your diet for their antiseptic benefits; and fresh herbs, such as mint and parsley, for their ability to neutralize odors.

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