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Health and Fitness News

Need a Mint?

You just might. Here are six reasons why your breath smells.

Bad breath, known as halitosis, is an embarrassing problem to have. Sometimes you may not even know your breath smells unless someone tells you. These days, wearing a mask may make you more aware of your bad breath. So what do you do? When the mask comes off and you’re around other people, you may try to cover it up with gum or mints. While helpful, that just covers up the problem. To remedy bad breath for good, you’ll want to get to the root of the problem.

Most cases of bad breath come from the same reasons. From the foods you eat to your dental hygiene habits to underlying health conditions, read on to learn the most common causes of bad breath and how to treat them.

The Foods You Eat

Certain foods affect your breath more than others. The worst offenders seem to be onions and garlic. Don’t ignore the other culprits though. Pastrami, cheese, and spices can all mess up your breath. As can orange juice, soda, and alcohol.

Brushing your teeth or using mouthwash helps, but it only masks the smell temporarily. When these foods are digested and enter your bloodstream, they reach the lungs. Once there, the odor gets pushed out when you exhale. The smell can last for hours or days from a single meal. So do yourself and others a favor and avoid these foods when in close contact with others.

Lack of Dental Hygiene

After you eat, food particles stick around in your mouth. Over time, bacteria (also known as plaque) builds up on your teeth.

To ward off this problem, get rid of the food particles. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily work to clear the plaque off your teeth or dentures. And remember to care for your tongue. Bacteria can also form there and produce odors. So brush your tongue whenever caring for your teeth.

Tobacco Use

Smoking or using chewing tobacco doesn’t just stain your teeth. It also makes you more likely to have stinky breath. These bad habits also increase your risk of gum disease, another cause of halitosis.

The only way to beat tobacco-related bad breath? Quitting.

Low-Carb Diets

You want to lose weight, but it comes at an unexpected cost. Your breath now stinks. That’s right. Halitosis is a lesser-known side effect of low-carb diets. It may be annoying, but it’s a sign the diet is working. As the body burns fat instead of carbs for energy, ketone chemicals are produced that cause bad breath.

Unfortunately, brushing, flossing, and mouthwash won’t treat the problem. The solution? Eat a few more carbs, suck on sugarless mints, chew sugarless gum, or drink more water. Better yet, if you plan on quitting the low-carb diet at some point in the future, do it now. Rely on a healthy, well-balanced diet you can maintain for the long haul.

Dry Mouth

One important job of saliva is to wash away food particles and bacteria that cause odors. A lack of saliva can cause your mouth to dry out. This is one reason your breath is so bad in the morning after sleeping with your mouth open. Sometimes, dry mouth can be the result of an underlying health condition, a malfunction of your salivary glands, or a side effect of certain medications. It can also be attributed to caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and smoking.

There are a number of remedies to dry mouth. Try drinking more water, sucking on sugarless candy, chewing sugarless gum, or using an alcohol-free mouthwash. On top of these tips, practice proper oral hygiene, breathe through your nose, and use a humidifier in your home.

Health Conditions

Sometimes, bad breath can be traced back to an underlying health condition. People are more likely to deal with halitosis if they have an infection in the sinuses, nose, or throat. It also arises from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, or in rare cases, a metabolic disorder or cancer.