National 12-Hour Fresh Breath Day

Oral Health

Bye-Bye, Bad Breath!

If you’ve ever been embarrassed by bad breath, you’re not alone. Bad breath – also called halitosis – is a common problem that affects almost everyone.

That’s why San Mateo Center for Cosmetic Dentistry recognizes December 12 as National 12-Hour Fresh Breath Day! Here are a few of the reasons that contribute to not-so-fresh breath — and we’ve included recommendations for eliminating them.


We all know that eating onions and garlic may cause temporary bad breath, but poor oral hygiene is another top reason. Bacteria that gather on (and in-between) your teeth are a major culprit, and daily brushing and flossing removes food particles, bacteria, and plaque. If brushing isn’t convenient, (after a sweet treat in the office, for example), grab a glass of water and rinse.

There are many products that can help freshen your breath, such as mints, gum and mouthwash; but ultimately, good oral hygiene is the key to keeping your breath smelling fresh.

Dry Mouth

We’ve all experienced dry mouth at some point or another, and it’s more than just a nuisance – saliva helps to wash away bacteria and food debris from your teeth and gums. When you consistently experience dry mouth, it can lead to bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

(Dry mouth also increases the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues).

Talk to your dentist if dry mouth is a concern; there could be an underlying cause. You’ll also learn about products and tips that can increase saliva production.


Smoking or chewing tobacco is never a good idea!

With each puff or chew, significant amounts of toxins enter your body, substances that may lead to cancers of the mouth and throat, COPD, and cardiovascular issues. At the very least, tobacco products will stain your teeth and cause unpleasant breath. If you need help quitting, start here!


It’s amazing how interconnected our bodies are; a simple infection or disease in one part of the body can cause serious discomfort and even lead to more issues elsewhere.

For example, gum disease, tonsillitis, and sinus infections may cause symptoms like pain, fever, difficulty breathing, and bad breath. Your dentist and doctor can diagnose and treat any health concerns that may be causing a disagreeable odor.

These are just some of the factors that can contribute to bad breath, but the good news is that there are things you can do to remedy them. Be sure to brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings. If you’re worried about bad breath, talk to your doctor or dentist about what else you can do to improve it.