After indulging in some of your favorite healthy foods (like garlic bread, maybe?) or even drinking certain beverages, it’s expected that your breath is going to smell, well, off. But sometimes, the cause of your bad breath (a.k.a. halitosis, the medical term for chronic bad breath) isn’t so clear, which means it’s necessary to find ways on how to get rid of bad breath quickly and the reasons behind it.

Most times, bad breath is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria (strains that don't need oxygen to survive) in saliva that produces foul-smelling, sulfurous compounds. Roughly half of adults have had bad breath at some point, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). “Bad breath is quite a common occurrence and happens to most people throughout their lifetime,” says Jeffrey Sulitzer, D.M.D., lead dentist and chief clinical officer for SmileDirectClub. “This can be caused by poor dental hygiene/habits, health conditions, and certain food or drinks,” he adds.

If your breath still smells bad, even after cutting back on specific foods and beverages, something more serious may be the culprit. “Generally, halitosis is a multifactorial diagnosis and a visit to your dentist can rule out gum disease and untreated cavities,” said Rhonda Kalasho, D.D.S., a double board-certified cosmetic dentist practicing in California, in a previous interview for Prevention.

If it turns out your mouth and teeth are not to blame, “you should visit your local dentist for advice in case it may be something more serious that may need professional diagnosis and treatment,” advises Dr. Sulitzer.

Ahead, we’re sharing 10 expert-approved ways to get rid of bad breath.

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