What Causes Bad Breath?

Published: December 08, 2014
Dear What Causes Bad Breath?,

What causes bad breath?


Dear What Causes Bad Breath?,

Bad breath can be caused by things such as bacterial infections, certain medications, and even postnasal drip. It can also result from eating certain foods, such as garlic and onions. However, bad breath usually comes from the gums and tongue. Some of the bacteria in your mouth may produce various compounds that result in an odor.

Want a good way to determine whether you have bad breath? The easiest way would be to check with a friend or family member who is with you. If there is nobody nearby you can trust, here is a trick: Lick the back of your hand, let the saliva dry and then smell your hand. That will give you the best indication of how good (or bad!) your breath is.

So what can you do to fight bad breath?

  • Brush and floss after every meal or at least twice a day.
  • If you wear a retainer or any kind of mouth guard, clean it thoroughly each time you brush or after you use it.
  • Don’t use any kind of tobacco products.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist can recommend a good one for you.
  • Schedule appointments for cleanings with your dentist every 6 months.

If bad breath is a particular problem for you, or you have any other questions or concerns, check with your dentist or doctor about it.

If you don’t have a dentist and do have dental insurance, you can contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers. You can also use the ADA (American Dental Association) Find-a-Dentist tool.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

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