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Dental and Oral Health Center

Persistent recurring, horribly bad breath

11/17/2006

Question:

What are the possible causes of recurring, horribly bad breath that keeps coming back periodically? Each time I tell my friend that his breath is really awful, whatever he does for it makes it go away, but it always ends up coming back in a few weeks. Could this be something more serious? Any suggestions?

Answer:

There are 3 major sources of bad breath:

From what you are telling me, it could be possible that the source for him is his tongue, because it has gotten better at some point. Certain groups of bacteria that reside in the posterior part of the tongue tend to degrade protein and produce bad breath.

I would suggest that he consults his dentist first to rule out any possibilities of having an infection in the mouth. It will be important for him to talk about this with his dentist. In the meantime, he could brush his tongue at least twice a day with his toothbrush, or use a tongue scraper.  These are for sale in stores (dental section).

Very important, he will need to make sure to use dental floss in between all of his teeth every day, at least once a day. This should at least improve his situation. If it does not, then his dentist might be able to consider other causes that I mentioned above. I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Jose I Arauz-Dutari, DMD Jose I Arauz-Dutari, DMD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Periodontics
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University