1. Bad breath does not discriminate.
2. There are two types of bad breath: "garlic breath" and actual halitosis.
3. Halitosis is USUALLY from an imbalance of bacteria.
4. People who have halitosis often cannot tell.
5. And that stuff you're smelling is actually sulfur.
6. You have to physically remove the bacteria to get rid of the smell.
7. Tongue scrapers can help... but only if used properly.
8. Stank breath can also be caused by not enough saliva.
9. Wretched morning breath is totally normal.
10. What you eat can cause bad breath — and not just the garlic.
11. Mouthwash can mask the problem, but it won't fix it.
As mentioned before, it's the mechanical movements like brushing and flossing that will actually remove the bad breath bacteria. Mouthwash and other topical solutions can help to wash the stuff away after cleaning, but they really only mask the the problem. They should never be used as a replacement for proper oral hygiene.
And actually, it could even make it worse. "If your mouthwash has alcohol, your breath might be fresh for 30 minutes from the added mint flavors, but then the alcohol will dry your mouth out even more, which only makes a better environment for the odor-producing bacteria," says Herskovits. If you do use mouthwash, try alcohol-free or antibacterial rinses, which don't dry out your mouth as much, but act directly to kill odor-causing bacteria and fight plaque.
12. Smoking and drinking can make your breath reek.
13. Sugar can make your breath pretty foul, too.
14. And obviously, coffee breath is a thing because it dries out your mouth and leaves a pretty pungent odor.
15. Halitosis may even cause anxiety or depression.
16. With more severe halitosis, quick fixes probably won't work.
17. If you think you have halitosis, go to a dentist.
"The biggest insight I have is that there's no magic cure for halitosis... you can keep trying new stuff, but you need to see a dentist," Fox says. Seeing a dentist is not a quick-fix, but they can assess the situation and prescribe a variety of proprietary treatment plans.
Treatment is usually non-invasive and can include extensive cleaning sessions or prescription rinses and toothpaste to remove all that tricky bacteria from the mouth or help a saliva problem. The general idea is that a professional can help you get back to square one, to the point where you can maintain normal breath with proper oral hygiene.