Bad Breath

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Do you have bad breath? If so, then don’t fret. Bad breath – medically known as halitosis—is quite a common problem to have, with some studies showing that at least half of adults all over the world will develop the condition at some point in their lives. Moreover, it’s usually easy to treat if the problem is superficial.

That being said, many causes can be attributed to bad breath. It could be something as simple as poor oral hygiene, or it could be a deeper and more serious health condition. If you’re suffering from halitosis, it’s best to consult a dentist to figure out just exactly what the root cause is. To help you possibly narrow down what’s causing your bad breath, here’s a list of some of the most common causes of halitosis.

1. Eating aromatic food

Think back on your diet lately. Have you been consuming dishes with a lot of strong-smelling spices? Maybe you’ve been scarfing down some onion rings, or even baked garlic? Such aromatic foods can leave their scent on your breath long after you’ve digested them. To prevent this from happening, limit your consumption of dishes that contain spices, or keep a pack of mints handy to freshen your breath.

2. Smoking

Smoking leaves your breath and mouth with an unpleasant odor, and it tends to stick no matter how much you brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. Smoking also makes you prone to gum disease, which can be another source of halitosis. Naturally, you’ll need to stop smoking if tobacco use is the source of your bad breath.

3. Drinking Coffee

A cup of coffee can certainly perk you up in the morning, but it can also give you a strong case of coffee breath. This is mostly due to coffee’s strong and powerful aroma, which can linger in the mouth like a sour and tangy scent. Coffee also reduces the amount of saliva production in the mouth, causing odor-causing bacteria to thrive. You can reduce the odor by cutting down on your coffee consumption, or making sure that you brush your teeth after drinking your daily cup of joe.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a common and painful digestive issue that can cause you to have bad breath. This is due to the stomach acid rising from your stomach and entering your esophagus with every reflux attack you have. As such, the odors of your previous meal comes out with your breath. Treating this cause of halitosis involves taking anti-GERD medication such as antacids or proton-pump inhibitors.

5. Poor oral hygiene

Not observing good oral hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing once every day, and using mouthwash can also cause halitosis. By neglecting proper oral hygiene, you are allowing bacteria and plaque to accumulate on your teeth. This causes bad breath while also putting you at risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease, both of which are known to further cause a foul odor.

6. Oral diseases

As mentioned above, tooth decay and gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis can cause bad breath, simply because part of your oral cavity is technically decaying when you are suffering from such conditions.

7. Other diseases elsewhere in the body

Some other serious health conditions can also be the cause of bad breath. These include cancer, diabetes. Needless to say, such conditions need to be diagnosed and treated by a qualified medical professional. If you suspect that an underlying disease or condition is the culprit behind your halitosis, seek medical attention immediately.

Having bad breath can be embarrassing, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s a very common condition that can be caused by a multitude of factors, which include those listed above, among others. However, to truly stamp out your halitosis, be sure to visit your dentist to figure out the real cause. Don’t use this article to self-diagnose, as it could result in you potentially ignoring a more serious health condition that needs addressing as soon as possible.

About The Author:

This is a guest post by Dr. Douglas Kim of First Dental Care, a trusted dentist in Anaheim. Dr. Kim offers a full range of general, family, and cosmetic dentistry services. Outside of the office, Dr. Kim enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and their 2 adorable sons.

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