We’ve all been there: You’ve eaten some garlic bread and you suddenly realise that your breath isn’t as fresh as it should be.

Let’s be honest: Everyone has stinky breath at some point. In fact, bad breath affect 1 in 4 people globally. It can be awkward, embarrassing and often offensive. However, while bad breath  is usually just a nuisance in need of a minty fix, there is a big difference between occasional bad breath and the misfortune of having chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight dragon breath. However, if you’re already practising good oral hygiene habits but still have persistent bad breath, you should be checked for underlying causes. There are a number of reasons why you may have this problem. It’s not just about what you’re eating or whether you’re brushing.

According to Tina Giannacopoulos, a dentist at Boston Dental, gingivitis (a.k.a gum disease) is a common cause. But if you don’t notice any bleeding and inflamed or receding gums, it is not the issue.

Certain prescription medication could certainly be to blame. Medication for high blood pressure, as well as certain antidepressants and antihistamines, can cause xerostomia or dry mouth. As saliva is necessary to wash away food particles from the oral cavity, a dry mouth could be the cause of foul breath. Medical conditions such as a sinus condition, mouth infections, gastric reflux, liver or kidney disease, or even certain allergies, could be underlying causes of bad breath. If you have diabetes, for example, you can end up with ketones - a chemical by-product of burning fat instead of glucose for energy -  this could cause your breath to smell fruity or like nail polish.

Cavities can cause sensitivity and pain, but sometimes they go unnoticed. If you have one, bacteria eats away at the tooth structure and release odours.

Have you skipped lunch? Not a good idea because eating helps you replenish the saliva in your mouth. Also watch what you eat. A high protein and low carb diet may be good for your health, but not eating enough carbs will trigger your body to burn fat instead of sugar, therefore cause bad breath.

So, make sure to visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and professional cleaning of your teeth. Regular check-ups will allow your dentist to detect any problems before they become serious.  Brush and floss twice a day. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods such as carrots or apples to keep the saliva going.  Also make sure to clean your tongue; this is a breeding ground for dead cells and food debris.  

Most of the time, bad breath can be prevented and cured with proper oral hygiene, however it may also be the cause of an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.

Treating the issue at the source means fresher breath wherever you are during the day.

Source: mouthhealthy.org, colgate.com, medicinenet.com, medicalnewstoday.com, menshealth.com, jnj.com, womanshealthmag.com, mayoclinic.org

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.