Causes of bad breath and how to treat it

bad breathJust under seven weeks (48 days!) are what only remain between now and Christmas. During the next month especially, many people will be planning Christmas parties, whether this be with work colleagues or family and friends.

However, imagine you are standing across the room from handsome stranger and your eyes meet. Maybe they happen to be the good-looking person from the other department that you always have had a crush on, but never quite had the courage to speak to and ask out. Later on when the drinks are flowing, confidence has increased, there is some mistletoe conveniently located above you both, and you are about to share a kiss.

But at this point for many people, is where panic kicks in. What about bad breath! Yes, bad breath is a cause of worry for millions of people around the UK and can even result in considerable distress. With a lot of kissing happening under the mistletoe around the festive period, perhaps now is the time to understand what causes bad breath, what can be done to limit your chances of repeatedly suffering with it, and to be aware of some of the great products out there that can treat bad breath.

Bad breath is also known as ‘halitosis’, and is a common problem that will effect everybody at some stage of their life – usually when they first wake up in the morning. For some, bad breath is a persistent issue that can ruin social lives and result in major loss of self-esteem.

Firstly, the facts – It is thought that around one in 4 people suffers with regular bad breath, although it may differ between what people report as ‘bad breath’. The most cases of bad breath are caused by Volatile Sulfuric Compounds (VSCs). The waste emitted by those bacteria is the main source of these compounds and partly why your dentist advises you to brush your teeth daily!

The brainchild behind revolutionary mouthwash CB12, Dr Thomas Norlin, has previously spoke in great detail the significance of VSC gases and what provided him with the motivation to develop the remarkable CB12 mouthwash.

He said: “The majority of VSCs are produced when protein remnants in the mouth break down into amino acids. The two amino acids that form the main substrate for the production of VSCs are cysteine and methionine. VSCs originate from food, such as a protein-rich diet, milk products and cheese. They also originate from blood, a dry mouth or anything that increases the number of germs, i.e. the amino acids. Certain bacteria have enzymes that break down these amino acids and the result is sulphurous gases, i.e. VSCs which consist of the gases hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulphide. Methyl mercaptan is the component of VSCs that causes the worst smell, even in very small quantities. We also know now that there is a correlation between VSCs and periodontitis.

Dr Norlin added: “In other words, there are elevated levels of VSCs in deep gum pockets, so patients with gum pockets have higher levels of VSCs than other patients. Studies often measure only hydrogen sulphide and not methyl mercaptan to detect VSCs. In order to show the presence of methyl mercaptan a gas chromatography is required. The methyl mercaptan smells the worst and is more aggressive, also it is not neutralised as easily as hydrogen sulphide. With the development of CB12 there was one primary aim: to eliminate all gases and not just some of them. By using a gas chromatography as part of thorough research it has been proved and later published in several scientific journals that CB12 eliminates VSCs for a longer period and is more effective than any other product that exists on the market.”

VSCs are just one of many reasons for bad breath however, and others include:

. Poor oral hygiene

Bacteria accumulated on your gums, teeth and tongue can cause tooth decay, gum disease and plaque (the soft white deposit that can develop on teeth). This bacteria works together with saliva to break down food particles and proteins, causing an unpleasant smelling gas to be released. Failing to brush and floss on a regular basis will mean any food that is still caught between your teeth will be broken down by the bacteria, causing bad breath.

. Smoking

Smoking causes a whole range of problems for the teeth and gums which have a knock-on effect for breath. Regular use of tobacco can and will stain your teeth, lead to a loss of taste, and can cause gum disease by having a detrimental impact on the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth, interfering with the normal function of gum tissue cells. Many of the harmful chemicals contained within tobacco smoke dry the mouth and promote growth from the ‘wrong’ type of bacteria, leading to bad breath. Stopping smoking can both lower your risk of gum disease and help to improve your breath.

. Strong smelling food and drink

Something that smells strong going in, will probably smell strong coming out! Garlic, onions, spices, coffee and alcohol are some of the worst culprits for bad breath. This type of bad breath is usually only temporary and can be limited by avoiding these food and drinks, in addition to maintaining good dental hygiene.

. Unhealthy/crash dieting

Fasting, crash dieting and low-carbohydrate diets may help you to lose weight quickly, but they can be disastrous for your breath. Such diets can cause to body to break down fat for fuel instead of carbs, which then starts the production of molecules called ‘ketones’. One type of ketone, called acetone, is released in your urine and breath.

Treating bad breath

Treatment for bad breath will usually depend on the cause. As we have highlighted already, stopping smoking, avoiding certain food and drink, eating enough carbs, having good oral hygiene, using CB12 mouthwash and fresh breath sprays such as Gold Spot, are just some of the things you can do to try and alleviate the problem.

Make sure to attend regular dental check-ups as dentists can ensure any plaque is removed from your teeth – especially in areas difficult to get to. They can also spot any early signs of gum disease and advise appropriate treatment as early as possible.

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