Everyone experiences occasional halitosis, or, bad breath. But when you find that more often than not opening your mouth is cause for concern, it may be time to change your habits. Here are a few common causes of bad breath and what you can do to alleviate it.

  • Dehydration: When you don’t drink enough water, your body automatically slows saliva production. Saliva helps to keep bacteria in the mouth under control and if significantly decreased, bacteria levels will noticeably rise. Similarly, some medications that cause dry mouth may contribute to bad breath.
  • Not brushing enough: Everyone should be their brushing teeth, gums, and tongue at least twice a day. Daily activities cause bacteria to build up in your mouth and food that isn’t removed from brushing and flossing will rot, causing a foul odor. Regular visits to the dentist will not only help to prevent cavities and gum diseases, but will help to diagnose mouth issues that could be causing bad breath.
  • Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or using chewing tobacco is not only harmful to your overall health, it will also make your mouth smell like an ashtray.
  • Dieting: Chewing foods encourages your body to produce more saliva, which helps to flush out bacteria from your mouth. Less food = less chewing = less saliva. Try chewing a piece of sugarless gum after meals. It will not only clean your teeth, it will increase saliva production.
  • Smelly foods: Foods with a strong odor, like garlic, onions, and alcoholic beverages may linger longer than other foods.

If you’ve tried changing your bad breath-encouraging habits and are still overcome with halitosis, it may be time to see a doctor. Diabetes, sinus infections, throat and mouth cancer, and liver and lung disease can all produce symptoms of bad breath. Check with your health care provider for more information.

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