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Quiz: Do You Know What Causes Your Bad Breath?

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Eating more apples and oranges can improve your breath.

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Eating more apples and oranges can improve your breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Eating more fruits and vegetables may decrease bad breath. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water, which can help keep your mouth moist. Saliva is nature's way of keeping your breath fresh.

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Halitosis is:

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Halitosis is:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

If you have a chronic problem with bad breath -- are a lot of people mentioning it to you lately? -- it might be time for a trip to your dentist.

Garlic can make your breath smell bad even after you’ve brushed your teeth and rinsed with mouthwash.

Garlic can make your breath smell bad even after you’ve brushed your teeth and rinsed with mouthwash.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

After being digested, a smelly substance in garlic is absorbed into your bloodstream and then transferred to your lungs, where it is expelled as a gas -- making your breath smell! Brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash only temporarily hide the odor.

What ingredient in green tea shows promise as a treatment for bad breath?

What ingredient in green tea shows promise as a treatment for bad breath?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

There’s growing evidence that the polyphenols in green tea can protect drinkers against cavities and bad breath.

How long a piece of dental floss should you use?

How long a piece of dental floss should you use?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The American Dental Association recommends using 18 inches of floss, wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the middle finger of your other hand, to best floss your teeth.

If I have bad breath, my child is more likely to have bad breath.

If I have bad breath, my child is more likely to have bad breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Children are not more likely to have bad breath if their mothers had bad breath, according to a study in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry journal. On the other hand, there was a clear connection between frequent tooth-brushing and reduced breath levels of smelly gases called volatile sulfur compounds.

If you brush and floss every day, you will never have bad breath.

If you brush and floss every day, you will never have bad breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Bad breath can be a symptom of a medical condition, including a respiratory infection, diabetes, or liver or kidney disease. If your dentist looks at your mouth and your bad breath isn’t coming from a problem with your teeth or gums, you might have to see your doctor about one of these or some other medical condition.

Eating hamburgers and steak can worsen your breath.

Eating hamburgers and steak can worsen your breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Eating red meat can worsen your breath; eating less meat may improve your breath. The decay of the leftover bits of proteins in meats and cheese can create odors in your breath.

You don’t need to clean a baby’s teeth.

You don’t need to clean a baby’s teeth.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

A cavity can develop in even the smallest and newest teeth. Infant gums can be cleaned with a soft cloth. When the first teeth appear, clean them with an infant toothbrush and children’s toothpaste.

The amount of saliva your mouth makes:

The amount of saliva your mouth makes:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Normally, saliva washes particles of food out of your mouth, so people with dry mouth may have bad breath because they still have food particles stuck in there. The medical name for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Certain medications can contribute to bad breath.

Certain medications can contribute to bad breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

About 400 prescription drugs and some over-the-counter meds cause dry mouth. The lower amount of saliva contributes to an overgrowth of bacteria, which can produce an unpleasant breath smell.

Your tonsils can be a reason you have bad breath.

Your tonsils can be a reason you have bad breath.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Bad breath, a sore throat, trouble swallowing, and fever are all symptoms of tonsillitis, an infection of the tonsils (the oval-shaped nubs of pink tissue on each side of the back of your throat).


Debris caught in your tonsils also can be a factor in bad breath. So can those smelly gray or yellowish deposits, called tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. Gargling may help ease the problem.

After flossing, it’s important  to:

After flossing, it’s important  to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Rinsing after flossing helps remove the debris loosened by the floss.

People with dentures don’t have to worry about bad breath, because they don’t have real teeth where food particles can get stuck.

People with dentures don’t have to worry about bad breath, because they don’t have real teeth where food particles can get stuck.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Dentures that are not cleaned properly can harbor bacteria and food particles, which cause bad breath. Removable dentures should be brushed and soaked in a disinfecting solution overnight.

Constant bad breath and gums that bleed easily are symptoms of:

Constant bad breath and gums that bleed easily are symptoms of:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Symptoms of gum disease, also called periodontal disease, include bleeding gums, constant bad breath, and gums that are pulling away from your teeth.

Keeping a log of what you eat:

Keeping a log of what you eat:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Maybe pastrami is your problem, or that expensive cheese you like -- in any case, a log of what you eat can help your dentist figure out what’s triggering your bad breath.

Gingiva is the scientific name for:

Gingiva is the scientific name for:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The scientific name for gums is gingiva -- that’s why the name for early stage gum disease is gingivitis. One of the symptoms of gingivitis is bad breath. At this stage, it’s easy to fix this condition with a cleaning at your dentist and better daily care at home.

Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Great job! Bet your breath smells really sweet.

Not bad. You know quite a bit about keeping your mouth and teeth clean.

You might want to brush up on your dental knowledge (and give those teeth a good brush, too).

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