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I typically wake up with a mouth tasting like something died in it. Throughout the day it continues to taste bad, and I'm told it smells significantly worse. This has gotten to the point that it's getting in the way with relationships.

I assume this started during a few-month period of terrible oral hygiene, but since I have greatly improved oral habits, brushing twice daily after meals, flossing and using mouthwash, but the problem continues. Mouthwash alleviates the issue for maybe an hour at a time, and some mouthwashes help for as little as 20 minutes. I've spent a good deal of time googling, and I can't seem to find anything about CURING bad breath by, say, rebalancing oral bacteria. Is there a long-term solution for bad breath, preferably permanent (considering I haven't found anything that works for more than an hour, the standard is pretty low)?

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You may actually want to try cutting out the mouthwash. There's some evidence that the bacteria being killed with frequent use of mouthwash may include the healthy sort that your mouth needs, not to mention that it may dry your mouth out, which will also make your breath worse.

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    Interesting. Does this only concern alcohol / chlorhexidine? Are there better alternatives? – Coma Apr 22 '16 at 23:23
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You might have gum disease (do your gums bleed when flossing?). Go for a checkup with a dentist and ask about a regular or deep cleaning. Usually, a regular cleaning will be done, which will remove most surface bacteria from the gums/teeth. Most people don't know this, but it is important to get regual cleanings by the dentist, at least around once a year. Then the dentist will prescribe a specific antibacterial mouthwash such as perioaid or periogard - it is crucial that you're advised by dentist what specific mouthwash to get and in what concentration. From this point on if you keep up good oral hygiene 99% of problems will be gone.

tldr; get a checkup with a dentist

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A Daily Mail article listed many causes I had not heard about (not a trustworthy reference, but the interviewed experts seem legitimate):

  • Dieting, especially low-carbohydrate diets
  • Intense exercising
  • Dehydration
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Ph balance changes in the mouth
  • Caffeine, especially coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Sugary foods
  • Flying on a airplane
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