Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Teen Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Bad Breath

More than 70% of teens say bad breath is an instant turnoff. About 85% say it's the most important thing to avoid when meeting someone for the first time. And while bad breath can be treated and avoided, you often don't even know that you have it!

Bad breath (called halitosis) is a common problem not only for teens, but also for everyone. So what exactly is it, what causes it, and, most important, how can you get rid of it?

Recommended Related to Teens

Teens and Peer Pressure

"C’mon. Everyone’s doing it." So why shouldn’t you?  It’s almost expected that you will experience peer pressure frequently throughout your teen years. Say you're invited to a party where you know there will be alcohol or drugs. A friend decides to cut class. Someone offers you a cigarette. Or friends talk about having sex with their boyfriends or girlfriends. How do you respond? Are you tempted to follow their examples? Or can you stand strong in your own belief system? At some point, everyone...

Read the Teens and Peer Pressure article > >

 

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath has a variety of causes, including:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Medications and medical conditions
  • Postnasal drip
  • Poor hygiene (yep, you have to brush teeth more frequently)

In most cases, bad breath comes from the gums and tongue. Some bacteria in your mouth may produce compounds that result in an odor.

Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, not only leave lasting odors in your mouth, but are also absorbed into the bloodstream. The odors are then expelled from the lungs. Until these foods are eliminated from the body, mouthwash, chewing gum, and toothpaste can only mask the odors on the breath.

For some people, a dry mouth causes bad breath. Dry mouth can result from taking antihistamines for allergies or a cold, or from antidepressants. It can also result from localized infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbances, or liver or kidney ailments.

The postnasal drip that streams down the back of your throat during colds, allergies, or sinus infections can result in bad breath. Sometimes, tiny food nuggets lodge in the crypts of your tonsils or on the tongue and cause a foul odor.

But most bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene. Basically, that means you don't brush or floss frequently enough. How many times have you heard that from your dentist?

Bacteria that build up on the back of your tongue or in between your teeth are the main culprits. Certain types of bacteria love to breed on the tongue, in the crevices between your teeth, or in untreated cavities.

Finally -- yet most important -- tobacco products cause bad breath. If you smoke tobacco or chew smokeless tobacco, ask you dentist or your primary health care professional for tips on kicking the habit.

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
Article
mini cupcakes
fitSlideshow
 
teen couple
ARTICLE
girl running with vigor
fitSlideshow
 
Sugary drinks
fitSlideshow
teen wearing toning shoes
fitSlideshow
 
young woman texting
Article
teen boy holding a condom
ARTICLE
 
Teen girls eating ice cream
fitQUIZ
teen sleeping
fitARTICLE
 
couple kissing
SLIDESHOW
Taylor Swift
fitSLIDESHOW