What Really Causes Bad Breath? And How Can You Fight It?

The short answer from a registered dental hygienist
An individual smiles while holding dental floss

Q: What really causes bad breath — and how can you fight it?

A: Bad breath can have various causes, including diet, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and poor oral hygiene.

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While GERD is a health issue associated with breath problems, you should see your doctor if you suspect it’s the cause for your bad breath.

More often, improvements in oral hygiene can solve bad breath issues. Your best bet is to floss once a day, brush two to three times a day for two to three minutes and rinse with a bacterial-fighting rinse. If you wear dentures, keep in mind that food trapped under a poor-fitting denture can cause bad breath, as well as not removing and cleaning the denture on a daily basis.

Remember: Breath mints are only a cover-up if there is a real problem. Most of the time, bad breath is a hygiene problem and you can take steps to improve it.

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— Registered dental hygienist, Tenika Patterson.

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