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You diligently brush your teeth, floss, and have even incorporated a mouthwash into your daily oral health routine, but for some reason you just can’t seem to shake your bad breath! Bad breath is not only annoying, it can be off-putting to friends, coworkers, and anyone new you meet. Oftentimes, we may not even be aware of the extent of the smell of our own mouths but a loved one may alert us to the problem. No matter what the situation, bad breath is just downright embarrassing and troublesome. If you’ve ever wondered why you seem to have a smell to your mouth even when you do your best to avoid it, read on to learn some surprising causes of bad breath!

1. Your tongue may be to blame.

Bacteria can build up anywhere in your mouth, not just on the surface of your teeth and gums. While brushing and flossing will clear up the bacteria and plaque on your teeth, if you skip over your tongue you’re missing about half of the bacteria in your mouth! Additionally, the bacteria that is more likely to build up on your tongue is known to be more odorous than the bacteria attracted to teeth. To clean your tongue thoroughly, give it a good brush after you’ve brushed your teeth, or consider investing in a plastic tongue scraper to really remove buildup.

2. It could be an unintended side effect of medication.

Did you know that there are more than 400 medications—both over the counter and prescription—that are known to reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth? A drier mouth means a mouth more likely to accumulate bacteria because saliva usually acts to help wash bacteria and food particles away. If you’re taking medication that causes dry mouth, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help counteract this effect.

3. There’s trouble in your tonsils.

Tonsil stones are little white balls of built up mucus, bacteria, and food that get lodged in the crevasses of your tonsils. While they are medically harmless, they do carry a pungent smell. They usually become dislodged on their own but using a warm saltwater gargle can help move the process along. If this problem is routine for you, consider asking your dentist if they have further recommendations.

4. Acid reflux can cause problems beyond your stomach!

If you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, it could be negatively impacting your breath. With all of the acid churning up in your stomach, both gas and small bits of food may find their way back into your mouth, causing unpleasant smells. If you often experience heartburn and have found yourself with increased bad breath lately, see your doctor to have them assess whether a bigger issue is at hand.

Bad breath is often just the result of a bit of excess bacteria or food in your mouth, but chronic bad breath or sudden extreme smells may be a sign of a bigger issue!

If you’re concerned about the smell of your breath, give us a call at Steger Smiles today to schedule a checkup!

Be proud of your smile.