What can cause persistent bad breath?

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Offline Linda

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What can cause persistent bad breath?
« on: 07/07/2010 11:30:02 »
Linda  asked the Naked Scientists:
Good day
I was listening to your show in 702 when you've talked about bad smell, however I would like to pose a question to you about my problem.
Since from 2003 I've a experiencing a problem of bad smell coming through my nose and I consulted different GPs and specialists, none of them had managed to help me.

In 2004 I was refered to hospital to investigate but they couldn't found what is the problem or cause of this problem.
I tried several medicines base on Doctors' advice, such as brushing my teeth three times a day, use of specific brushes, sucking some mint sweets and gums, but none has helped and the problem still persists.
Now i live like an Island as other folks doesn't like my smell.
Please help chris you are my last resort.

Linda (name changed)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 11:30:02 by _system »


Offline Karen W.

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What can cause persistent bad breath?
« Reply #1 on: 07/07/2010 12:53:03 »
I am no expert but Dieting and certain stomach problems and a bad tooth or cavity can cause chronic bad breath as well as not flossing and brushing properly of course. Be sure to not just brush your teeth but your gums, the roof of your mouth as well as tour tongue as far down as possible.. be thorough though...
Make sure you stay hydrated as dehydration can cause bad breath also...

Getting tiny chunks of meat stuck in tooth cavities and crevices can cause some really bad Halitosis ..
 I also know while dieting ones ketones change causing breath problems as well as being sick... chronic infections in the lungs always did it for me.. but no more...

I have also heard many people with chronic halitosis have other physical ailments as well....Someone else should be able to point out some more things more specifically then I.

Here is a nice list of possible reasons and an explanation as to why this happens..etc.. I found the following information on it here at this site, and copied it to here for you!


"The Causes of Bad Breath ... Part Two

Dieting such as Atkins diets and many of the other fad diets available will cause a particular type of bad breath called "Hunger Breath". When you starve yourself of carbohydrates, the body will begin to break down fats and release ketones. This particular compound can be extremely smelly and difficult to remove. At the Australian Breath Clinic we advise our patients to consume a 100% orange juice (not reconstituted) at mid morning and mid afternoon, as well as eating a slice of bread at lunch. These things will ensure you have adequate carbohydrate intake during the day and avoid the release of ketones into your breath.

Genetic Predisposition can also cause bad breath. Genetics determines the base numbers of our bacteria in our mouths as well as factors such as tongue shape. Certain tongues are very difficult to clean and can trap bacteria and mouth compounds more easily. Tongues that have a long central groove, or tongues that have large papillae (hairy tongue) are particularly susceptible. Also genetics determines our allergy status. Heightened allergy status can increase the production of nasal mucus and therefore cause an increase of the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Medications are a major cause of bad breath. Seven out of the top ten prescribed medicines have dry mouth as a side effect of usage. Typically, they are the antidepressants, high blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, decongestants, indigestion, hormone replacement medicines, birth control pills.

Foods high in protein can cause bad breath. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream etc are probably the worst offenders for your breath. Proteins found in dairy foods are broken down to amino acids. Two amino acids in particular Cysteine and Methionine convert to extremely smelly sulphur compounds of Hydrogen Sulphide (rotten egg gas) and Methyl Mercaptan (faeces smell). Skim milk is as bad as cream, as the protein content is usually about the same, even though the fat content is considerably different. Also some people are lactose intolerant and can not digest dairy products properly.

Again other foods such as garlic and onions will create bad breath instantly. This is because, on a molecular basis, they already contain the sulphur compounds (Mercaptans) produced by bad breath bacteria. Also any foods that contain sugar can add to breath problems. This is because sugar is an excellent nutritional medium for the bad breath bacteria.

Hormonal changes can cause bad breath. Some women notice a change related to their menstrual cycle. It has to do with the way hormones control the concentration of saliva. When the saliva is “thicker” it’s a sign that less Oxygen is present, and then the whole process of sulphur production is initiated.

Smoking  is one of the major causes of bad breath, gum disease, and heart disease. When you smoke you are effectively starving the mouth of oxygen, thus promoting the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria that create the smelly sulphur products. Unfortunately smoking is addictive and therefore not easy to cut down or quit. Consider that if you smoke you need to be paranoid about your breath. It is therefore essential that all smokers use some form of breath system as well as breath chewing gum during the day to help keep adequate supply of saliva and oxygen to the mouth. If you smoke ask your dentist on some of the ways to kick the habit.

Alcohol  is a very good drying agent, and therefore should be avoided when ever possible. It drastically increases the numbers of anaerobic bacteria and is a major cause of dry mouth. Apart from this fact alcohol is known to cause pre cancerous changes to oral tissue. This also includes the alcohol found in most commercial mouthwash."

« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 12:59:58 by Karen W. »

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."