What Causes Bad Breath?

By a show of hands, how many of you out there rinse your mouth with a mouthwash, brush your teeth, pop a breath mint or chew a piece of gum before heading into an interview, date or some other encounter when you will be in close proximity to another person(s)?  The reason: We all are desirous of having a nice smelling breath and not some malodorous stench emanating from our mouths.

There are a number of causes of “bad breath” including:

  • Poor dental hygiene/infection of teeth
  • Ingestion of certain foods such as onions, garlic and spices, that after digestion, enter the bloodstream, get carried to the lungs and out they go with your breaths
  • Infected throats and sinuses
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Ketogenic diets
  • Dry mouth
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications, especially those that dry out the mouth

If the “usual” interventions (using a strong mouthwash daily, flossing and brushing your teeth, using breath mints) do not adequately handle the situation, the first professional to see would be your dentist.  If the dentist does not find any root causes, this would then warrant a trip to your medical doctor.  Also, please ensure adequate hydration at all times as “curing” dry mouth often alleviates the breath issue.

Okay, time for a “truth be known” Posner story: In my 40-plus years of doctoring, I have literally smelled it all…from abscesses to other infections to wounds to a bunch of other stuff.  The very worst smell for me?  ONIONS… Raw ONIONS.  PLEASE, if you ever call me to see you for a sore throat or other condition when I need to examine your mouth and smell your breath, do NOT eat raw onions before your visit.

And what would this entry be without the “Top Gun” song, Berlin singing “Take My Breath Away”?

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