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What causes bad breath?

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Quick Answer

A buildup of bacteria in the mouth causes bad breath, according to WebMD. About 80 percent of bad breath is the result of a condition in the mouth such as a cavity or gum disease. Certain foods, poor dental hygiene, tobacco and dry mouth can also cause bad breath.

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What causes bad breath?
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Full Answer

Certain diets, such as those that call for extreme fasting or low carb intake, can contribute to bad breath, reports WebMD, as can certain conditions, such as diabetes, liver disease and respiratory tract infections. A dentist may be able to determine the cause of bad breath by its smell. For example, bad breath with a fruity smell often indicates diabetes, while a urine-like smell can mean kidney failure.

Most treatment of bad breath involves scheduling regular cleanings with the dentist, brushing and flossing after every meal, using an electric toothbrush and rinsing with a bacteria-fighting mouthwash, according to WebMD. The site also suggests controlling bad breath through diet. Foods such as carrots, celery and apples help clear the mouth of debris and remove bacteria in the process.

In addition to these treatments, drinking water, avoiding coffee and sugary drinks, reducing alcohol intake and chewing sugarless gum can also help treat bad breath, notes WebMD.

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