What causes bad breath (and how to get rid of it)

About half of people will have halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath. Dr. Eleanor Weitzner says most cases stem from problems within the mouth like gum disease cavitities or ill-fitting dentures. Bacteria builds up and causes a foul odor. Bad breath can also be a sign of a systemic health issue, like kidney disease or diabetes, or a side effect of a medication. Some common culprits include some anti-depressants and blood pressure drugs. A lot of people think that if you have certain foods like onions or garlic or spicy foods then you have bad breath. So yes, you do have bad breath but it’s a transient thing. Halitosis is more of a long-term thing so unless you deal with the problem, you still have it. For true halitosis, prescription mouthwashes are available. And for everyone, Dr. Weitzner says, chewing sugar-free gum helps. It actually stimulates salivary flow and saliva actually lubricates the mouth and has an anti-bacterial effect which is what a lot of halitosis is caused by. It’s caused by bacteria. Salivary flow is decreased while we sleep and that’s what causes morning breath. She says two things to avoid are mouthwashes containing alcohol and brushing too hard. Brushing teeth and flossing and good oral hygiene, super super important. But you don’t want to overdo it because you’ll actually be causing harm to the tissues. So see your dentist regularly to detect any concerns early. And know that most people can’t actually smell their own breath accurately. So if a friend or loved one mentions there’s a problem, get it checked out. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.

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