Halitosis is also known as bad breath. It is a very common condition. In fact, you may have some right now! Some research suggests that we filter out nearby fragrances that aren’t necessarily sources of harm. We get used to them. That means you may be so accustomed to your own smell that you don’t notice it’s halitosis. But don’t be ashamed, and don’t be embarrassed to ask someone close to you (quite literally) if it’s something you should be concerned about. Halitosis is totally common. Consult your dentist or hygienist, who’ll be able to help diagnose (and maybe treat) the cause.

Morning Breath

It’s completely normal to wake up with mild halitosis. Your mouth generates less saliva while you sleep, and it’s saliva that does the usual work of clearing food debris from your mouth. In a drier environment, bacteria multiply. Morning breath is a sign they were busy overnight.

Tastes Good, Smells Bad

Take garlic, for example. Or onions. When you’re cooking with them (and what’s good that doesn’t start with garlic and onions?), it smells great. After you’ve eaten, you end up with mild halitosis. Why? Inside your body, components of garlic, and other food like onions, certain vegetables and spices, are in part absorbed into your bloodstream, and then exhaled as by-product from your lungs. Once digested, garlic can also pass a bitter smell through your pores; eater beware!

Tobacco, Coffee and Alcohol

It’s likely you have halitosis if you’re a regular smoker or drinker. All tobacco products produce an unpleasant mouth smell. Coffee, once it’s in you, can also reek – as can alcohol, especially when its scent starts to seep out your pores. All three can affect your oral moisture levels. If there’s less saliva in your mouth, there’s also less cleaning out of the particles responsible for halitosis.

Am I Chronic?

If you brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, rinse twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash such as LISTERINE®, and halitosis persists, try brushing your tongue. This is where a large amount of the bacteria lives that could be causing your bad breath. If halitosis remains present, visit an oral health care professional such as a dentist or dental hygienist. Don’t be shy or afraid to discuss your concerns. Finding out what’s causing your bad breath is a clue for the solution!