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Bad breath can be embarrassing. But what causes bad breath? In this blog post, we’ve collected a few common causes for bad breath, and ways that you can fight back.

First, assess your dental hygiene routines. Be totally honest with yourself. Are you brushing twice a day, for a full two minutes each session? Are you flossing once every day, taking about two to three minutes? If the answer to both of these questions is a definite “yes,” and yet you still deal with consistent bad breath, it’s time to look at some other options.

Is your breath odor caused by strong-smelling food, such as garlic or onions? “Garlic breath” can stick around for up to 72 hours! If you have eaten strong-smelling food recently, try chewing on sugar-free gum for 20 minutes. This will promote saliva flow, washing away bacteria and food debris. The scent of the gum will also freshen your breath temporarily as your mouth cleans itself.

The use of alcohol or tobacco products will also give you bad breath. They not only create odors of themselves, but they also dehydrate the mouth. This makes it harder for it to clean itself. This also allows bacteria to thrive, which also contributes to breath odors. It is best to limit or even eliminate the use of these substances for both oral and overall health.

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, liver problems, or other conditions. Talk with your dentist if your bad breath persists.

For more information or to schedule your twice-yearly appointment, call Summit Dental of La Mesa in La Mesa, California, at 619-460-0700. Drs. Evans, Hsu, Russell, Allen and Karia are happy to help you!