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Bad breath, also called “halitosis,” can be embarrassing. There are many causes for halitosis, which can range from the mild to the very serious. If you struggle with chronic bad breath, read on!

First, assess your dental hygiene. Are you brushing twice a day, for a full two minutes each time? Do you floss once daily for two to three minutes? If the answer to both of these questions is an honest “yes,” but you still have bad breath, it’s time to look at some other options.

Halitosis can be caused by strong-smelling food, such as garlic or onions. Garlic breath can last up to 72 hours! If you have eaten strong-smelling food recently, try chewing on sugar-free gum for 20 minutes. This will stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva, washing away food particles and bacteria. The scent of the gum will also freshen your breath as your mouth works to clean itself.

Bad breath can also come from the use of alcohol or tobacco products. They not only have odors on their own, but alcohol and tobacco also dehydrate the mouth, making it harder for it to clean itself. This allows bacteria to thrive, which contributes heavily to bad breath. It is best to limit or eliminate the use of these substances for the sake of your oral and overall health.

Dry mouth can also be caused by a number of medications, stress, cancer treatment, and other health problems. If you suspect dry mouth, talk with your dentist.

If you haven’t eaten any strong smelling food and don’t use tobacco or alcohol, chronic bad breath could indicate other medical problems, such as gum disease or other serious conditions. Talk with your dentist if your bad breath persists.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Mid-Valley Dental Care in Northridge, California, at 818-886-3500. Drs. Terrence and Casey Lau are happy to help!