Bad breath can be a nuisance and an embarrassment.
Many turn to mints or mouthwash to get rid of the odor. But mints and many mouth rinses only cover up the smell. They do not fix the problem. They are like many air fresheners that you might use in your home. Spraying them hides the bad odor, but it does not actually get rid of it.
New York University College of Dentistry Dean Andrew Spielman, DMD, Ph.D., shared with WebMD, that at least 50 percent of the adult population has bad breath at one point or another, and "just about everyone has it in the morning."
Bad breath can be caused by many things, such as:
Brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding foods with strong odors, and quitting smoking can prevent bad breath. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. It also recommends flossing at least once a day. This cannot only keep your mouth and teeth healthy; it can also prevent or fix bad breath.
Brushing after meals can also help reduce or eliminate bad breath.
Here are some other tips from WebMD for treating bad breath:
Other sources recommend chewing sugar-free gum or eating mints. While mints can mask breath odor, for people whose bad breath is caused by dry mouth, gum and mints also can help increase saliva. That saliva can then help wash away bacteria and particles that cause bad breath.
If all of the tips and tricks above don't work, you may have an illness. The ADA lists things like sinus issues, stomach problems, liver conditions — and even diabetes — as ailments that can cause bad breath. So if your dentist tells you that your mouth is healthy, you may need a trip to your family doctor to find out the real cause.
This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.
Last updated May 2014
Browse the forms you need for medical, pharmacy, and more.Find your forms
Don't have dental coverage at work? Keep your gums and teeth healthy with affordable dental insurance for individuals and families.Find a dental plan
You bet! And our healthcare video explains why.Watch video