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Do you find people looking away, or leaning back when you talk? You may not know it, but you may be suffering from bad breath. Also known as halitosis, this condition can strike anyone and for many different reasons.

There are two general types of halitosis, chronic and incidental. Chronic bad breath can be caused by factors that are constant, such as dental conditions (like gum disease) that need to be treated, an increase in bacteria in the mouth, or an underlying medical condition that may need the attention of a doctor.

Temporary bad breath, however, can be easily treated with a number of easy remedies, depending on what is causing this. For instance, if your breath smells because of what you ate, such as garlic, onions, and other similar bad-breath inducing food, you might want to ingest a breath deodorizer that can refresh your breath from within, like lozenges. If the problem is because of food, you simply need to wait till these are digested, and you can mask the smell till then.

Another cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. Not brushing your teeth regularly and neglecting to floss will leave behind food particles in your teeth and mouth, which will then decay and become a haven for bacteria. This, along with the plaque that also develops with poor dental hygiene, will produce a foul smelling breath that may be offensive to those around you. For you to prevent or even remove this, you simply need to improve your dental habits, and to brush as well as floss more frequently.

Some of the causes of halitosis may need the help of professionals though, such as periodontal disease, abscessed teeth, and tooth decay. This will need the attention of your dentist, and may require removal or other procedures that will remove not only the bad smell but also the bacteria and disease in, on, and around the tooth. In order to prevent the recurrence of halitosis, you will also need to improve your dental habits here since these things often occur due to lack of proper dental hygiene as well.

Cigarette smoking can also be faulted for producing bad breath. Not only is this habit bad for your lungs, and overall health, but it will also produce foul smelling breath over time. The chemicals that are found in these sticks can react adversely to your saliva, making your breath smell sour. Continued use of cigarettes can also lead to gum disease, which can also produce bad breath. To stop this, you will need to stop smoking.

Also considered one of the reasons for bad breath is dry mouth. Xerostomia is an ailment that decreases a person’s saliva production. This can then lead to bad breath simply because the absence of saliva won’t allow for the proper lubrication of food which can then be properly chewed, swallowed and digested. Food particles may remain in your mouth because of this, which can then result in rotting food residue that will make your mouth also stink.

There are also a few other medical ailments that result in halitosis. Examples of these are ketoacidosis (due to diabetes) which produces a sour, acidic, fruit-like smell, and chronic kidney disease, which produces a fishy, ammonia-like smell. These need to be taken care of by a medical doctor, and may even be one of the reasons why you find out that you have these medical conditions.

Treating and preventing bad breath is dependent on what caused it to happen. You can mask the bad smell for a short while, with breath strips, mint, sprays and gargles, but this is just a temporary fix. You will still need to get to the bottom of the problem for you to be able to solve your halitosis woes.