What causes bad breath?
Almost all cases of bad breath are caused by anaerobic sulfur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue, and often in the throat and tonsils.They create nasty odours such as hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg smell), as well as cadaverine and putrescine (the smells of rotting flesh) by extracting sulfur from the amino acids in proteins that we eat or from broken down oral tissue.
Obviously, we are all familiar with food odours that cause bad breath. They are due to high concentrations of sulfur compounds already in these foods.
Is bad breath treatable?
YES. There are new methods that use oxygenating compounds that has been proven to work vs the old concept of masking the odours. This is because the bacteria at the root cause of the problem are anaerobes (can’t survive in the presence of oxygen). Consequently, the introduction of oxygenating compounds is the quickest, longest lasting and safest method.
Since many cases of bad breath are due to dry mouth, tackling this issue is also paramount. Saliva is nature’s way of keeping your breath fresh and mouth healthy. Healthy saliva contains high concentrations of oxygen to fight off the anaerobic bad breath germs. 75 percent of medications have dry mouth as a side effect and that once saliva production is decreased, we can no longer fight bad breath. That’s why it’s important to drink plenty of water daily to help replenish saliva.
How can I get rid of bad breath?
It’s important to understand that the bacteria that create breath odours are part of the normal oral flora (they need to be there). Their job is to break down proteins in the mouth so that they are more easily digestible in the gut. Therefore, it’s impossible to get rid of these bacteria permanently. Using antibiotics is unwise, because the bacteria will eventually return, stronger than ever. Moreover, in the interim, yeasts and other nasty microbes may take over the oral environment.
How can I prevent bad breath for good?
Professionals urge those with oral malodour concerns to avoid the following:
- Onions, garlic, curry (as they already contain sulfur compounds)
- Dairy foods (they are dense with sulfur-containing proteins)
- Smoking (makes the mouth extremely dry)
- Alcohol-based mouthwash (alcohol makes the mouth dry, creating an environment loved by sulfur-producing bacteria)
- Toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a harsh soap put into many toothpaste formulas to create a foaming action. Like most soaps, it makes the mouth dry and can also lead to mouth sores.
- Cut down on sugars. Sugar feeds all types of bacteria, not just the bad breath bugs, but also those that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
How can I test if I have bad breath?
Clinics such as The California Breath Clinics use a portable sulphide monitor called the halimeter, which measures the concentration of sulphur compounds in parts per billion. Readings over 100 ppb are interpreted as the level at which the human nose can start to detect an unpleasant odour. The instrument measures up to 2,000 ppb. It is estimated that around 33 percent of the population will measure over 100 ppb at any time during the day. This instrument can cost several thousand pounds, so here are some methods to test for bad breath at home:
- Wrist Lick Test. Lick the back of your dry hand. Shake that hand a few seconds in order to make it dry. Take a sniff. The odour you detect is similar to the odour coming out of your mouth. That is because any sulphur odours you’re picking up have blended with your saliva and will stick to your hand.
- The Mirror Test. Stick out your tongue in front of well lit mirror. If the very back of your tongue has yellow or whitish coating, it’s a sign you are over-producing sulphur compounds. Those with healthy fresh breath tend to have a very pink tongue, based on high quantities of oxygen-rich saliva. If your mouth is dry or if you have high levels of sulphur producing bacteria, a coating develops.
Are some people more likely to be affected by bad breath than others?
- Diabetics. Those who suffer with diabetes tend to have a dry mouth, leading to bad breath. Furthermore, diabetics are more prone to gum disease since their ability to heal is compromised.
- Those who take multiple medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants and high blood medications. These medications along with many others have dry mouth as a side effect, which then can lead to bad breath.
- Those who have undergone head and neck radiation. They tend to have compromised salivary output due to radiation, thereby leading to the inability to naturally fight bad breath bacteria.
- Those who smoke on a regular basis, no matter what they smoke. Smoking in generally creates a dry mouth.
- Those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily. Alcohol makes the mouth dry. In a pinch, we advise those who drink alcohol to sip a bit of water afterwards to counteract the drying effect of the alcohol.
The Breath Company use natural ingredients to help fight bad breath. They use only natural mint oils to provide an additional method to naturally fight bad breath. In fact, The Breath Company does not use any artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners. Tens of thousands of people have found success by using patented oxygenating formulas, such as those found in The Breath Company Oral Rinses, Toothpastes and The Breath Company Dry Mouth Lozenges and if gum problems are also an issue, The Breath Company Healthy Gums Rinse.