Where does bad breath come from? It’s an age-old question that has plagued almost everyone in his or her everyday lives. I mean, let’s face it, just about everyone has been face to face with someone who has bad breath, or you’ve actually been accused of it yourself. So what’s to blame for this embarrassing part of life? Maybe it’s those strong smelling foods like garlic and onions that people consume. Or it could also be from the build up of bacteria on the teeth caused from not brushing, and flossing. So many questions, with one unsuspecting answer: the tongue. Yes, that’s right, a new study has linked bad breath to the bacteria that lives on the surface of the tongue.
According to researchers at the Foryth Institute in Boston and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, although some forms of bacteria protect against halitosis, the formal name for really bad breath, there are other kinds of bacteria that are the cause for the horrible odor. Studies have used gene sequencing to compare the bacteria found on the tongues of people who have halitosis, with those who have fresh breath. Researchers found that the same three types of bacteria were found in those people who had fresh breath, while the germ Streptococcus salivarius (a bacteria causing bad breath) was discovered in only one out of six people with halitosis. Apparently, the differences in germs in people’s mouths can be caused by a number of different things including someone’s blood type.
But what is it that makes bad breath occur? Discovering all of the germs responsible for bad breath may turn out to be an extremely daunting task. There are between 75 and 100 different kinds of germs that live in each individual’s mouth, out of a total of 700 that collectively populate all human mouths. The problem is that scientists only know the names of about 300 of these germs, which could make targeting the exact source for bad breath very difficult.
According to the National Institute of Dental Research, roughly about 65 million Americans suffer from halitosis at some point during their lives. Hopefully researchers will continue to make progress in determining what exactly causes the problem, because that is a lot of people with bad breath. In the mean time, if you want to try and keep the odor causing bacteria away, brushing not only your teeth, but also the tongue twice daily and using a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria can drastically reduce the chances of developing bad breath.
Bacteria may be winning the battle against bad breath, but with proper dental health care, you can win the war.