Particles of food remaining in the mouth after meals is the most common source of bad breath. The small particles accumulate on the tongue, around the gums and between teeth. The trapped food particles cause an unpleasant odor just as they begin to interact with the bacteria in your mouth.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum disease. Gum disease may be caused by the same food particles that accumulate in the mouth and form plaque and calculus. Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is sometimes caused by certain medications and medical conditions and can result in bad breath.
Consult a dental professional who can diagnose xerostomia and help you alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Bad breath can also be temporarily caused by certain foods; raw onions, garlic and cabbage produce sulfur-containing gasses when they are digested. These sulfur compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream, carried to the lungs and exhaled with breathing.
Tobacco products can cause bad breath, in addition to staining teeth, irritating gum tissue and contributing to oral cancer. Proper daily tongue scraping, brushing and flossing are good ways to prevent gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Carefully and thoroughly floss once a day to clean between your teeth (before bed is best). Drink plenty of water. Most conventional mouthwashes only mask odors temporarily. Ask your dentist for recommendations.