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One in every four Americans deals with halitosis, or chronic bad breath. If you are constantly popping wintergreen mints or spearmint gum to freshen your breath, it could be a sign that you are part of that 25 percent.

There are ways to prevent this bad breath, and we have compiled list of the most common causes for bad breath:

1. Improper dental hygiene – Not brushing and flossing your teeth after meals causes little food particles to be left in the teeth. As they decay throughout the day, they cause bad breath. This can be avoided by thoroughly brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing once per day. Compact-sized floss picks and toothbrushes can also be packed in your purse or bag for quick cleanup after meals.

2. Gum disease – Gum disease can develop from improper dental hygiene, and is a main contributor to breath freshness. When food is left in the teeth, it can start to infect the gums, leaving residue and spreading bacteria throughout the mouth. This can also be avoided by bringing portable floss picks and toothbrushes to use when you’re eating meals on-the-go.

3. Eating certain foods – We can all think of those few foods that do not keep your breath at its peak freshness. Onions, garlic, cheese, soda, and orange juice are some of the main culprits. For fresh breath, stay away from these foods. As obvious as it may seem, we eat these foods often and then wonder why our breath smells bad. Cutting out these foods when possible will help freshen your breath.

4. Dry mouth – Saliva naturally cleans your mouth, so when it is dry and not producing a normal amount of saliva, the dead cells can build up, causing morning breath. This can be particularly noticeable if you are someone who sleeps with their mouth open.

5. Malnutrition – Starvation and/or intense dieting can often result in bad breath because of the chemicals that break down during fasting. Also, when your mouth is not working to chew food and swallow water, saliva is not being produced as quickly, resulting in not-so-fresh breath.

No matter the cause for your bad breath, you can prevent this problem by being careful what you eat, making frequent trips to the dentist, and sucking on gum or hard candies to produce more saliva, contributing to fresher breath.