Bad Breath Blues

When people have bad breath, do you politely offer them breath mints or chewing gum, confront them with the news that their breath is offensive, or avoid them?

Bad breath, also called halitosis, has many causes, with poor oral health being a primary factor. It’s important to brush your teeth after meals and floss daily to remove the bits of food that get stuck between your teeth, in your gums, and on your tongue. If left untreated, these particles will decay, producing foul-smelling breath.

Causes for Bad Breath

Health professionals have identified several causes of bad breath:

  • Foods – Consumption of garlic, onion, cheese, orange juice or soda pop may contribute to foul breath; upon consumption, oils from these foods and beverages enter the bloodstream, travel into your lungs and the offensive odor is released through your breath
  • Chronic diseases – Halitosis can result from several diseases, such as cancers, lung infections, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease and kidney or liver failure
  • Nasal or respiratory infections – Discharge from a sinus or bronchial infection can contribute to halitosis
  • Dry mouth – When normal saliva flow decreases, your mouth dries out, dead cells accumulate and bad breath develops; individuals who sleep with an open mouth are more prone to dry mouth and bad breath in the morning; smoking and some medications also may contribute to offensive breath
  • Nutrition and diet – Extreme dieting or starvation can lead to bad breath

Tips for Avoiding Bad Breath

  • Avoid foods that are known to cause bad breath
  • Practice good, daily oral health habits, including brushing your teeth after meals, flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash; brush your tongue to remove dead cells and bacteria
  • Drink water throughout the day to cleanse your mouth and remove food particles and bacteria
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, as directed by your dentist


Have you experienced halitosis? What solutions did you adopt to cure the problem? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group