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When is bad breath a health issue?

When bad breath can be a health issue (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - It may not be top of mind right now, but if you notice someone has bad breath, it could be an early warning sign for other serious medical problems.

The team at Buttermilk Family and Cosmetic Dentistry says we should know about the issue to have a healthy holiday season.

There's a lot to love about the holidays. What you may not like is when someone at a gathering has bad breath. It raises the question, should you tell them? If so, why?

Dr. Greg Pohl says bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The dentist says you might actually want to ask those with a breath change a few health questions. "Are they experiencing sinusitis, a history of diabetes in their family, kidney issues, these are all things that manifest themselves with bad breath."

If you don't think bad breath is due to a serious health problem, rinsing and brushing is the best way to get rid of it.

Dr. Pohl suggests you follow that up with flossing and rinsing again. "That means that anything floating around in their now after you've cleaned is gonna get out of the mouth."

Certain habits such as smoking, alcohol and certain foods can change breath in the short term but if it lingers, see your dentist or hygienist and ask about ways to improve bad breath.

That way maybe the sights, sounds and scents of the season won't be a distraction from the real things we love about Christmas.

As for how to tell someone that you have noticed a change in their breath, there's a special virtual breath mint letter that will anonymously do that for you.

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