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Bad breath (halitosis) can cause embarrassment, create social and psychological barriers, and even affect relationships. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware there’s a problem. That’s because they probably used a mouthwash earlier in the day and the effects wore off.
The reason is that most over-the-counter products do not eliminate bad breath. They can only hide it temporarily. An independent study of fifteen mouthwash products showed that while they all masked bad breath after ten minutes, only a few were still working after a few hours. Additionally, most mouthwash products contain alcohol that dries soft oral tissue and ultimately leads to even faster formation of odor-causing bacteria.
Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, your problem may be more serious. So if the mouthwash cycle hasn’t been working for you, and you’re still concerned about bad breath, see your dentist. He or she can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it.