Bad Breath: Causes and Cures
CAUSE: Infection. Bad breath can be a good thing if it lets you know you have a sinus infection, Ishman says.
CURE: Open your sinuses. Treat congestion and postnasal drip with saline spray, allergy treatments, extra fluids, or nasal steroids. Ishman suggests antibiotics for bacterial and chronic sinus infections. But, she says, sinus problems are caused by viruses not treated with antibiotics. If your child has bad breath and one runny nostril, have her doctor check to see if she stuffed an object up her nose.
CAUSE: Dry mouth.
Dry mouth can foul your breath. Why? Saliva's job is to clean debris and bacteria from your mouth. If you don't make enough, many things could be to blame -- too much caffeine, a stuffy nose that turns you into a mouth-breather, medications like antihistamines, or even a fairly rare disease called Sjogren's syndrome, which dries up moist places all over your body.CURE: Drink water and make some spit. Stay hydrated so you your mouth's built-in cleaning system works. Chew sugar-free gum or suck sugar-free candies to help. Check with your doctor about medication for that stuffy nose or for artificial saliva products.
CAUSE: Unhealthy mouth. Cavities and gum disease can create an awful stink. Cure: Oral hygiene. See your dentist at least every six months for a teeth cleaning and exam, Romo says. Brush, floss, and use a fluoride mouth rinse with the American Dental Association's seal. Rinses that have alcohol can dry your mouth.
CAUSE: Tobacco. Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe can leave a nasty taste -- and smell -- in your mouth. Users are also prone to gum disease -- another cause of bad breath.
CURE: Quit. The best option for your breath and your overall health is to stop using any tobacco product. Keep up with oral hygiene while you kick the habit: Brush, floss, rinse, drink plenty of water, or chew sugar-free gum.
CAUSE: Chronic health problem. Sometimes bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, like an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.
CURE: Get treated. If none of the at-home tips help with your bad breath, see your doctor so she can test you for other more serious causes.