There are many reasons why you might have bad breath. You can get it if you don't brush and floss regularly. Bacteria that build up in your mouth and between your teeth produce the bad odor. Other problems in your mouth, such as gum disease, dry mouth, or cavities, may also cause it. Sinusitis or problems with your nose may be to blame. You can also have bad breath if you eat some foods, like raw onions, garlic, or cabbage. And of course smoking causes its own bad smell. Some diseases and medicines can cause a specific breath odor.
Having good dental habits, like brushing and flossing regularly, help fight bad breath. Mouthwashes, mints or chewing gum may make your breath fresher. If you have a disease that causes the bad breath, treating the disease may help give you fresher breath.
- Halitosis (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Halitosis (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Smelling Sickness: Body Odor May Be Sign of Disease (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Ask Your Dental Hygienist about Understanding and Eliminating Bad Breath (American Dental Hygienists' Association) - PDF
- Mouth Rinses (Academy of General Dentistry)
- Oral Health: Brush Up on Dental Care Basics (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Tongue Scrapers Only Slightly Reduce Bad Breath (Academy of General Dentistry)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Halitosis (National Institutes of Health)