Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Can I Remedy Stinky Breath?

Monday, 28 June 2010 02:54 PM

Question: Friends say I have bad breath. How do I cure it?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

I cannot tell you how often I get asked this question. There are plenty of effective remedies, and just as many causes, most of which are totally correctible.

Rarely, bad breath (halitosis) is associated with serious medical, gastrointestinal, or malignant conditions. Persistent halitosis should prompt a visit to your private physician for consultation.

Obvious causes must include evaluation of your oral hygiene. Bacteria normally live in your mouth and nose but not in your sinuses. Infection of your gums (gingivitis), nasal, sinus, or oral cavities must be effectively treated. Avoid using antibacterial rinses continuously unless under medical supervision, as you will foster the growth of resistant bacteria, as well as induce excessive tissue damage. You may use mints, gums, sprays etc., but remember these are temporary patches and do not resolve your issue.
• Go to your dentist and have a proper preventive cleaning and scaling and treat any cavities, gum disease, or "pockets."
• Optimize your oral hygiene and brush and floss after each meal.
• Rinse your mouth with water frequently.
• Avoid soft drinks and sugary agents.
• Go to your kitchen and drug cabinet and, in consultation with your doctor, eliminate all unnecessary medications and try to evaluate your diet for foods that commonly cause halitosis (onions, garlic, etc.).
• Stop smoking!
• Avoid eating late at night and avoid skipping meals (your body breaks down fat stores during starvation to form ketones that in turn ruin your breathe).
• Get good quality sleep. A well rested healthy body will not have halitosis on a continuing basis.
Different odors in your breath can also be caused by various maladies. Be sure you are checked for ENT (ear, nose, and throat) disorder (sinusitis, abscess, etc.), diabetes (sweet, fruity odor), liver disorder (fishy odor), kidney disorder (ammonia-like or urine odor), lung disorder (upper or lower pulmonary infection or abscess), and gastrointestinal disorder (GERD or "reflux," infection, or malignancy). GERD is the most commonly overlooked cause and is usually amenable to simple treatment measures.

© HealthDay

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