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Could Your Bad Breath Be Caused by a Bug?


Have you ever been self-conscious about your breath? Perhaps you had some zippy Chinese takeout the night before an important meeting (or worse yet, a dentist’s appointment). That might occur from time to time, but if you suffer from chronic bad breath, you likely struggle with feelings of self-consciousness on a daily basis. So what is causing your stinky breath? Could it be more than just the takeout? Let’s see what science has to say . . .

Recent study identifies strain of bacteria as a cause of bad breath

Have you ever been self-conscious about your breath? Perhaps you had some zippy Chinese takeout the night before an important meeting (or worse yet, a dentist’s appointment), and you felt like you needed to keep popping breath mints to mask the odor. I don’t know if that’s ever happened to you, but I know for certain it’s happened to my husband (sorry, dear – but you know it’s true)!

That example might occur from time to time, but if you suffer from chronic bad breath, you likely struggle with feelings of self-consciousness on a daily basis. You may find that no matter what you do – brush your teeth, eat a breath mint, gargle with mouthwash – you can’t get a fresh-smelling mouth. And you aren’t alone – millions of people suffer from bad breath.

So what is causing your stinky breath? Could it be more than just the takeout?

Well, scientists have recently discovered that you could have a bug in your mouth! No, not a bug as in a beetle or mosquito, but bacteria.  Let’s take a look at what they found . . .

The Study
Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine found the presence of the bacteria Solobacterium moorei, a tongue bacteria associated with severe bad breath.

A small study was done of people with chronic bad breath and a group without bad breath.  Researchers took a collection of culture samples by scraping a part of the tongue’s surface. The researchers used a device called a halimeter, which is a bad breath machine.  They used this machine to rank the participants’ breath from “no appreciable odor” to “extremely foul.”  

The discovery was that the bacterial bug, Solobacterium moorei, was found in every one of the participants who had halitosis (or chronic bad breath).  There were only a few people who did not have halitosis that had the bacteria, and all of the people had gum infection.  Gum infection can eventually cause halitosis.

Another thing that was discovered was that men were more likely to have the bacteria than women.  The researchers could not determine why.

Regular bad breath is most likely caused by volatile sulfur compounds, which are simple bacteria. Bad breath is also linked to dry mouth or respiratory tract infections, sinus infections or gastrointestinal problems. 

But halitosis can be caused by many different things as well, from medical reasons to dental reasons, and now to bugs!  However, it appears that the one thing that tends to be the most common is bacteria.

Even more disgusting is how people contract this bug.  It originally comes from human feces (ewww).

So how can you eliminate bad breath?
For certain you will need to keep up on brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue in order to help rid your mouth of the nasty smell.  Commercial mouthwashes will only work for a little while, but brushing your teeth for a few minutes and scraping the tongue will have longer benefits. 

Also, green tea can combat bad breath.  It is effective in reducing oral malodor temporarily because it has disinfectant and deodorant activities. 
If you tend to have bad breath for a long period of time and cannot get rid of it, you should contact your doctor to rule out any medical issues.  Otherwise, make up some green tea, brush, brush, brush and scrape!



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