5 things you should know about bad-breath causes, treatment

1. The No. 1 cause of halitosis — bad breath — is oral bacteria. It often congregates on the surfaces of the tongue, produces a waste that is rich in sulfur compounds and creates a dreadful rotten-egg smell.

2. The most common dental causes of bad breath include dry mouth, gum disease, extensive dental decay, oral infections and abscesses, oral cancers, poor oral hygiene and a proliferation of specific types of bacteria. Medical causes include tonsillar infections, post-nasal drainage, sinus infections, diabetes and lung diseases.

3. A closer look: Chronic dry mouth is the main culprit because saliva washes away excess sulfur compounds and provides oxygen to the oral environment, thus preventing the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria.

4. A tongue scraper and mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite are crucial, Miami dentist Ewaldo Wendler says. used together, they will reduce the amount of bacteria and neutralize the sulfuric compounds that ­create bad breath.

5. Prevention: Brush and floss daily; drink more water; chew sugarless gum to ease dry-mouth symptoms; cut down on coffee and odor-producing foods; quit ­smoking, and visit your dentist regularly.