If you end up receiving a box of Altoids in your stocking this holiday season while everyone else finds chocolate and gift cards, it may be a hint from your loved ones that it’s time to do something about that Halitosis, aka bad breath that manifests itself every time you have a conversation or lean in for a kiss.

Do you know what might be causing your bad breath? Below are some common roots of the problem, allowing you to make small lifestyle changes or consult with your dentist for solutions:Common Causes of Bad Breath

  • Smelly foods. What goes in must come out, and in this case, “out” refers to your breath. Foods like garlic and tuna are known for being potent, both while consuming and hours afterwards by lingering onto your breath. The reason for the odorous breath hours after eating is due to residuals from the food’s byproduct entering your bloodstream, meaning you breath the debris in and out for up to four hours after eating it.

  • Your mouth needs some cleaning. A dirty mouth from less-than-adequate brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash can be detrimental to your breath. All the bacteria breeds and continues to feed off your leftover food residuals. Flossing, too often neglected, assists with removing food left between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.

  • Medical oral problems. Two major oral conditions that assist with bacterial growth are gum disease and dry mouth. Gum disease results in bloody gums, which helps multiply the bacteria already lingering in your mouth. A dry mouth is a bacteria’s heaven — saliva is what rinses bacteria, while a dry mouth leaves a perfect atmosphere for bacterial breeding.

  • Not eating enough carbs. Too many carbs are, of course, the express lane to a growing waistline. But not enough carbs? Your oral health will take a huge hit. A major carb deprivation can lead to ketosis, which means that as fat burns, ketones build up in your body and release themselves through your breath. Yuck!