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Bad breath can negatively impact your life, as well as those around you. It can isolate and make you feel self-conscious, and that’s assuming you’re even aware of it! Friends and colleagues may keep their distance if your bad breath is a chronic concern and you may never even realize how much it impacts your relationships and opportunities. [1] However, knowledge is power. Being armed with the following 10 facts about bad breath is one step closer to never falling prey to bad breath, and living a more rich and confident life. Let’s take a look…

10 Bad Breath Facts

Fact #10. ‘Halitosis’ is a New ‘Concern’

It was only as recent as the 1920’s that halitosis became a plague to our mouths when Gerard Lambert of Listerine took an obscure term for bad breath…and turned it into a marketing bonanza. Bad breath has been acknowledged for millennia, but until Listerine began telling us how bad our lives were with it, bad breath, or halitosis, had never been publically viewed as a social concern. [2]

Fact #9. If It’s Something You Ate, It Needs To Work Through Your System

If the meal you just ate included a healthy serving of onions and garlic, sorry to say, you will just have to wait. In this case, the odor you experience is a result of digesting the sulfuric compounds in the onion (these are good for your health), or the allicin (again a healthy sulfur-based food compound) from the garlic.

As your body breaks down these compounds, they travel through your blood stream and can remain in your body for days. These compounds travel through the blood for excretion by the lungs, kidneys and skin. [3] If you’ve brushed and flossed and still find yourself with bad breath after a good meal of garlic and onions, take comfort in knowing that the garlic is good for you and the bad breath is temporary.

Fact #8. Smoking is Bad for Your Breath

No surprise here, smoking causes many changes to the mouth. For one, you introduce to your mouth all of the chemicals contained within that tobacco smoke. Many of these chemicals dry the mouth and encourage growth from the ‘wrong’ type of bacteria. On top of all this, it can damage the tissue in the mouth leading to infection and diseases such as cancer.

If you’re wondering about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bacteria, you need to know about…

Fact #7. You Don’t Want VSCs

VSCs, or Volatile Sulfuric Compounds, cause most bad breath. The waste released by these bacteria are the primary source of these compounds. This is the reason your dentist has told you to brush daily! Not all bacteria produce these VSCs, just the ones you don’t want in your mouth. For example…

Fact #6. Streptococcus salivarius is Your Friend

Like it or not, the human mouth contains billions of bacteria. [4] One such ‘friendly’ bacteria is Streptococcus salivarius, a naturally occurring oral bacteria. This friendly bacteria occurs in higher levels in people who do not have halitosis. [5] A bacteria like this doesn’t produce those nasty VSCs.

Fact #5. Xerostomia Promotes the Wrong Bacteria

Xerostomia is dry mouth. You know dry mouth, the rough, cottony feeling you may feel first thing in the morning. It occurs as a result of reduced saliva production. Some causes of dry mouth include:

  • Consuming dehydrating food and drink, such as coffee and alcohol.
  • Mouth breathing dries out the mouth (and is often the cause of ‘morning breath’!).
  • The side effect of many medications is dry mouth. Some of these medication types include antihistamines, antidepressants, anticholinergics, anorexiants, antihypertensives, antipsychotics, anti-Parkinson agents, diuretics and sedatives. [6]
  • Chronic or more serious medical conditions can lead to dry mouth.

If you find yourself with dry mouth, drink some water and stay hydrated. Which bring us to…