June 30, 2009 -- The medical term for it is halitosis, but you don't need to be a doctor to recognize it. You easily can sniff it out.
It's bad breath, and 90 percent of it is caused by bacteria that lodge in the grooves of the tongue and wedge between the teeth and gums.
The result is foul-smelling culprits called volatile sulfur compounds. And the bad-breath bacteria multiply when exposed to acids, like coffee and orange juice and anything with sugar.
But there are ways to battle bad breath. While some may think products with heavy alcohol content will tackle stinky breath effectively, but the opposite is true. Alcohol actually dries out your mouth and the bad-breath-causing bacteria thrive in dry environments
That's why you have bad breath in the morning. You salivate less at night and those bacteria go nuts. That's also why skipping breakfast can give you bad breath. Eating breakfast gets the salivation going and takes care of the overnight dry mouth phenomenon. So staying hydrated is key to good breath.
There are also many products on the market geared to controlling bad breath.
More Tips to Combat Bad Breath
One myth is that eating a meal leads to bad breath. But it's not true.
Eating stimulates saliva, which keeps your breath fresher. The exception would be foods like onions and garlic, which are stinky to begin with and will stay on your breath until you brush.
Once you cleanse your mouth of them though, their bad smells are gone.
Dr. Harold Katz, a dentist and founder of the California Breath Clinics, said drinking more water can battle bad breath.
Basic hygiene rules apply. Floss in order to remove bacteria that lodge under your gums. Tooth brushes do not get at that.
Get your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice yearly and brush at least twice daily.