Ask A Doctor | Your family's health questions answered

What’s causing my bad breath, and how do I cure it?

Whether it’s caused by garlic or gingivitis, there are remedies for smelly breath

By Sally Wadyka Aug 6, 2013 1:17PM

Turn to MSN's Ask A Doctor blog every day to find answers from top experts to all of your health concerns. Have a health issue or just curious? Send in your question today.

Stinky breath can have many causes. One of the most common, and easily remedied, reasons for having bad breath is eating something stinky. If your lunch contained a lot of onion, garlic or other pungent flavors, there are some simple treatments for freshening your breath before it offends everyone at your afternoon meeting. “Chew on a sprig of parsley together with a mint leaf,” suggests Dr. Jennifer Jablow. a NYC-based cosmetic dentist. “The chlorophyll in the parsley helps freshen breath, and the mint will help neutralize odor.”

Lisa Pines/Getty Images

Another common cause is dry mouth. “Saliva production is very important for helping to keep breath from getting smelly,” Jablow says. That’s one reason she discourages patients from using mouthwashes that contain alcohol. “The alcohol dries out the mouth, causing a rebound effect of even worse breath,” she says.

But there could also be some serious reasons for your smelly breath. Gum disease, acid reflux and post-nasal drip can all be culprits. So if your bad breath is chronic, see your dentist to check for gingivitis; she can refer you to another specialist if she suspects a nondental cause.

Dr. Jennifer Jablow is a cosmetic dentist in New York City who is well-known for creating the gorgeous grins of many celebrities. Find her on Twitter and online.

More on MSN Healthy Living
Is flossing every day really necessary?
Are teeth-whitening kits safe?
Will medication improve sex life?

Aug 6, 2013 2:55PM
Really??? That's it? If your going to write an article, at least have SOME useful information.
Aug 6, 2013 3:03PM
I see 1 remedy...am I missing the rest of the article?  I hate these titles that lure you in and the article has no related substance.
Aug 6, 2013 3:12PM
Here's a little tid-bit.... Yogurt instantly neutralizes or overcomes the odor cultures. I read that last year :):) !
Aug 6, 2013 3:18PM
One of the best ways to almost eliminate bad breath is to scrape the tongue daily.  I don't mean brushing as that just moves the bacteria around the tongue, but actually scraping and removing the stuff off the tongue.  It will possibly gross you out when you do it.  I work with young children and they are never afraid to tell you when something is amiss.  If you have bad breath leave it to a child to tell you.  I never have had the kids tell me and I attribute it to scraping the crap off my tongue daily.
Aug 6, 2013 4:07PM
Don't forget to remove your tonsil stones! Google it. Those little white balls STINK!
Aug 6, 2013 3:37PM
Check out tonsil rocks!! They are always left out of the equation.
Aug 6, 2013 4:03PM
What do you think they recomend for a Stinky a$$
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
featured on msn
answers to your health questions
meet our blogger
editor's picks
About Healthy Living MSN Healthy Living does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information