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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Causes and Cures of Bad Breath --  May 14, 2013

Nobody really wants to have bad breath (halitosis), but it's kinda hard to tell if you have it unless a brave family member or friend tells you.  Here's one thing to try:  Take a clean finger and scrape saliva off the back of your tongue.  Rub in on your the back of your hand, wait a minute, then smell your hand.  What do you think?  Bad breath is kind of a sensitive subject, but is a concern for lots of people.  So here are some of the causes for halitosis.


  • The bacteria in your mouth.  These micro organisms lurk between your teeth and cover your tongue.  When bacteria stagnate they multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.
  • Say "Ahhhh".  The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common source of bad breath.  If your tonsils are wide and pitted, a cheese-like, smelly substance collects in these holes leading to halitosis.
  • Pungent foods.  Foods like onion, garlic and fish can cause bad breath -- even hours after you brush.
  • Tobacco.  Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) or chewing tobacco can leave a really nasty taste -- and smell -- in your mouth.
  • Tummy troubles.  Sometimes gastrointestinal problems such as GERD or an ulcer can bad breath when you burp and gas is released.  You might also blame low-carb diets, which cause ketosis, a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.

And now for the CURES

  • Brush your teeth -- and tongue -- twice a day
  • Floss once a day
  • Gargle with hydrogen  peroxide -- the oxygen in it will kill the mouth bacteria that cause bad breath
  • Use a fluoride mouth rinse for sweeter breath
  • Drink lots of water -- a lack of fluids can lead to a dry mouth and cause bad breath.  The water and the saliva it stimulates will wash away some of the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Reduce upset stomach.  Over-the-counter antacids may ease a sour or acidic stomach which can lead to halitosis when you burp.
  • Check your sinuses; infections can cause bad breath
  • Eat yogurt for sweeter breath -- yogurt replenishes the good bacteria in your gut and promotes a healthier mouth
  • Chew sugar-free gum.  Chewing gum makes you salivate and that saliva is what helps wash away those bacteria in your mouth.
  • See you dentist and hygienist regularly.  At least every six months, see your hygienist for a profesisonal cleaning and see your dentist for an oral exam.





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