Almost all cases of bad breath and taste disorders involve a group of anaerobic sulfur-producing bacteria that live below the surface of your tongue, in your throat, and often in your tonsils (if you still have tonsils). These bacteria react to changes in their environment by producing smelly and bad tasting Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs). These include hydrogen sulfide (smells like rotten eggs), methyl mercaptan (smells like old gym socks), Putrescine and Cadaverine (smells like old garbage) and several other chemicals.
These bacteria are supposed to be there, because they assist us in digestion by breaking down proteins found in specific foods, mucus or phlegm, blood, and in diseased or “broken-down” oral tissue. They are not “bad guys” – they are not infectious. Everyone in the world has the same group of bacteria in their mouth. You cannot “catch” bad breath from someone else – even by kissing.
The only proven way to eliminate bad breath is to change your existing oral environment so that it is ‘less friendly’ to creating and sustaining the Volatile Sulfur Compound producing bacteria which cause bad breath and unpleasant mouth taste.
Some of the conditions that trigger bad breath and halitosis include:
- A dry mouth
- Thick saliva
- Excess mucus in the throat
- Post nasal drip
- A diet high in proteins (dairy foods, red meat, beans, etc.)
- Alcohol (in adult beverages or surprisingly, in your mouthwash)
- Hormonal changes
- Medications which have dry mouth as a side-effect (anti-depressants, high blood pressure medications, anti-histamines, etc.)
- History of diabetes
- Special types of diets (i.e. The Atkins Diet or other high protein diets)
- Excessive use of “old-fashioned” oral products (containing alcohol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Onions & garlic
- Milk & cheese
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