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Bad breath is always a cause of great frustrations, especially in social situations, not to mention the romantic life. Bad breath, if chronic, can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Fortunately, there are many ways in which one can overcome this embarrassing problem. In order to solve it, it is important to understand the causes.

Causes of bad breath

There are foods that are known for causing bad breath. Everyone knows about garlic and onion breath, and coffee breath is the unpleasant one too.

Dry mouth is one of the major culprits of bad breath, because it is an excellent environment for the anaerobic bacteria.

Digestion also plays an important role. Meat and dairy products sometimes release byproducts during digestion which leads to bad breath.

Poor dental hygiene is, of course, a common cause of foul odor coming from the mouth. Many people forget or simply choose not to floss, which aggravates the problem of bad breath, whatever the cause is.

Alcohol consumption, smoking, certain medications, some diseases and conditions, even some toothpastes, for example those with sodium laureth sulfate, are known for causing bad breath.

How to minimize chronic bad breath

In order to successfully solve the problem with chronic bad breath, it is essential to find out what is causing it. Foods that cause bad breath should be avoided, or at least not consumed before social events, in order to minimize the embarrassment.

In case bad breath is caused by dry mouth, the first step would be to find out what is causing dry mouth in the first place. Sometimes the solution can be quite simple, like drinking more water.

The bacteria that live inside the oral cavity can sometimes overgrow and cause an infection. The bacteria release byproducts that sometimes smell bad and cause bad breath. Taking an oral swab and finding out which bacteria are causing it, and then taking a course of antibiotics to kill the overgrown bacteria, can be an efficient solution for this problem.

If bad breath cannot be solved by using mints and chewing gums, or by improving the dental hygiene, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, in which case it is best to see a doctor.

Medical conditions that are known for causing chronic bad breath include gum disease, cavities, throat infections, tonsil problems, post-nasal drip, GERD, H. pylori infection of the stomach, gastric ulcers, hiatal hernia, colon problems, malapsorption, kidney disease and liver disease.

It is also important to know that there is a psychological disorder called halitophobia, in which a person has a strong and overwhelming concern about bad breath.

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