Basically, all the food you eat begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing -- even mouthwash -- merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?
If you don't brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.
Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate the gums.
Change Your Breath From Bad to Good:
Drink more water.
Wolner says the older you get the more likely you are to get dehydrated. You might not even notice you're thirsty, he says, so make drinking water a habit, because water will help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum. Drinking water has a lot of health benefits, and preventing bad breath is one of them.
Rule out rare causes for bad breath.
While most bad breath can be banished with simple hygienic steps, there are times when dental or medical conditions might be the culprit. Make an appointment with your dentist if an unsavory odor takes residence in your mouth.
"If there is a persistent odor in your mouth, and you know it's not from the pasta you ate last night, see a dentist," Wolner tells WebMD. Your dentist will be able to pinpoint any cavities or decay, or even periodontal (gum) disease, that might be causing your bad breath.
Because on rare occasions bad breath can signal a larger problem, including infection, and even kidney or liver failure, you should also visit a doctor if your dentist doesn't find a cause for your bad breath problem.
Have a slice of bread.
If you're on one of the many popular low-carb diets, remember that bad breath or "ketone breath" is a potential side effect when you always have that burger sans bun. You can try different methods of masking the odor, such as gum or tart candies, but adding a few carbs to your daily diet might also do the trick.