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Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common concern for millions of people, affecting about 25% of the US population. There are many causes for bad breath:

Poor Oral Hygiene or Faulty Dental Work

In about 85% of the cases, bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene which led to debris accumulation in the mouth. If oral hygiene is not performed daily, food particles get left behind, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This can cause bad breath and result in periodontal disease. Faulty dental work can create traps for food particles that can further worsen periodontal disease. Proper oral hygiene, treatment of periodontal disease and repair of faulty dental restorations will in most cases result in immediate relief of the problem. Periodontal treatment reduces “pockets” (see Periodontal Disease) which will eliminate the areas where food and bacteria can collect.

Your Diet

What you eat can affect your breath. As foods are digested, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and transferred to your lungs and given off in your breath. Foods that have strong odors (such as garlic or onions), can produce bad breath despite proper oral hygiene. One way to avoid bad breath is to avoid foods with strong odors and eat foods that contain natural chlorophyll (such as green vegetables) which remove mouth odor.


Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath, slow down healing, stain teeth, and contributes to periodontal disease.

Other Health Problems 

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, prevent bacteria from attaching to the teeth, and remove dead cells that collects on the tongue. Without adequate saliva, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, diseases or mouth breathing.

Respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal dripdiabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems can also cause bad breath.

If you suffer from bad breath, Dr. Towe and her staff will diagnose the cause of your specific bad breath problem and recommend the proper treatment. They will teach you the home care procedures that can result in lasting pleasant breath.

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