Halitosis – the medical name for bad breath– can be a chronic problem or a temporary one, but it definitely leaves you feeling a dash insecure about social interaction. To address the problem, it’s best that possible causes be examined and eliminated.

Your diet definitely makes an impact. Eating more fruit and vegetables can leave your breath smelling sweeter. Both contain high content of water and antioxidants. Water detoxifies and hydrates, keeping the mouth moist. Dry-mouth or low level of saliva is the leading cause of halitosis, as saliva washes away particles of food in your mouth as well as slowing bacterial growth. The Indian Ayurvedic remedy of chewing a clove or some aniseed (saunf) has also been found very effective.

Garlic and cheese are two of the biggest culprits behind mouth odour. Garlic can make your breath smell even after being digested. A smelly substance from it is absorbed into your bloodstream, transferred to the lungs and expelled as gas. Brushing and rinsing will only provide temporary relief.

Green tea on the other hand, may help you beat bad breath. Polyphenol antioxidants in it protect from cavities and prevent foul smell. It’s a good idea to log your food and catch the triggers causing the problem.

The American Dental Association recommends frequent brushing and where that is not possible, definitely rinsing after a meal to reduce volatile sulfur compounds from building up. Flossing is also helpful in removing food debris that the brush cannot reach.

Bad breath can often be a warning of a deeper-lying medical problem. It could be an indication of respiratory infection, tonsillitis, diabetes or kidney/liver disease. If your dentist affirms that the problem is not caused by tooth or gum decay, it’s a good idea to get an appointment with a physician to find the root cause.