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What causes bad breath?

Bad breath can originate from a number of medical problems such as digestive issues, dry mouth, and certain medications. Most often, bad breath, also known as halitosis, stems from problems within the mouth.

You may have short-term bad breath due to dehydration or not eating enough food. Your mouth can also retain odors from strong foods such as curry, onions, and garlic. You can help alleviate bad breath from foods by brushing your teeth and tongue to remove any food debris and odors. Most bad breath caused by food quickly dissipates, so there is no reason to avoid your favorites unless you have an important face-to-face meeting after lunch!

Chronic bad breath often stems from a serious infection called periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease has a distinct odor that you can often smell when people talk. Unfortunately, unless someone tells you, you may not know that your breath smells foul. You can floss your teeth and smell the floss, but even then it may not be apparent, especially for older people who lose their sense of smell as they age. 

Other signs of periodontal disease that can give you a clue about your breath are bleeding when you brush and floss, swollen gums, redness, and recession.

If you do not take good care of your teeth and have regular dental cleanings, you can count on having bad breath eventually.

If you have questions about how to maintain fresh breath, our dental hygienists are a wealth of knowledge and can help you get back on track.

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