Bad breath–aka Halitosis or Malodor
Whatever you want to call it, bad breath stinks.
We spend more than a BILLION DOLLARS a year for bad breath cover-ups.
It is a condition suffered by roughly one out of four people.
In terms of reasons why people visit the dentist, this condition comes in at #3, surpassed only by #1) gum or periodontal disease and #2) cavities and tooth decay.
Bacterial overgrowth is the most common cause of chronic bad breath.
The bacteria is commonly found:
- Harbored beneath the gum line
- On the tongue, primarily in the dorsal (back) section
- In the case of periodontal disease, within the gum pockets
- In tooth abscesses, cavities and between teeth
- Dentures or other dental appliances
Chronic bad breath is different than the occasional bad breath we all experience that might come from identifiable sources such as garlic, heavy foods, alcohol, etc. In these cases the remedy is usually simple: brush your teeth, gargle mouthwash, chew some gum (or parsley) and so on.
Chronic, persistent bad breath is another situation. While sometimes due to underlying medical conditions, the majority of persistent bad breath is produced by bacteria on the back of the tongue or in the gums.
Bad breath is not just embarrassing, the odor-producing bacteria also contributes to gum disease, tooth decay and other ailments.
Sure you can cover it up, but the real solution is to tackle the problem at its source–the proliferation and overgrowth of odor-causing bacteria found in the mouth.
How Oral Bacteria Causes Bad Breath
The full explanation can get quite complex but in simple terms here is how the process works:
- First, the majority of the problem bacteria reside on the back of the tongue, followed by bacteria below the gum line and in the periodontal pockets with lesser sources located in areas such as tooth abscesses, dental appliances (dentures) and sometimes oral lesions.
- These bacteria breakdown proteins into their individual amino acids.
- Then as amino acids break down they release foul gases that are associated with bad breath.
- These gases, often called “Volatile Sulfur Compounds” (VSC), are the cause of over 90% of all cases of chronic bad breath or halitosis. (Tests have indicated that VSC may be more than just foul smelling. VSC creation may in fact contribute to the gum inflammation and damage associated with periodontal disease)
Bad breath bottom line: Chronic bad breath is primarily caused by bacteria in the mouth, oral probiotics work to freshen your breath by attacking bad breath at its source.
Problems in Treating Bad Breath
Bacteria are very persistent survivors and lodge themselves in areas that are protected and tough to access.
- Using antibiotics to kill off all bacteria is not a healthy solution for long-term control of bad breath. This approach kills off the good with the bad–leaving you open to further bacterial overgrowth and can lower immunity.
- The majority of halitosis related bacteria is to be found in the back of the tongue. This area is ideal for harboring bacteria as: 1) its surface is irregular and 2) its structure and location makes it a perfect place for bacteria to feed and grow.
- The rest is mostly located under the gums, in gum pockets or within dental cavities and abcessess. These are also very difficult locations to reach.
- The bacteria group together and form a “biofilm” that is very difficult to dislodge or to penetrate. A “biofilm” is an aggregation of bacteria and microorganism that stick to surfaces such as the teeth, gums or tongue. The “biofilm” is very tough, very durable and very persistent.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Keep in mind that the effective approach is to inhibit the growth of the bad-odor producing bacteria and not to just cover it up with mouthwashes or breath fresheners.
In the majority of cases, for long-term results, it is the reduction and control of bad bacteria in the mouth that delivers not only fresher breath but healthier teeth and gums as well.
Effective bad breath remedies include:
- Gentle and regular scraping of the tongue
- Regular oral care practices such as daily brushing and flossing
- Professional deep cleanings and plaque removal
- The ongoing use of oral probiotics
How Probiotics Work to Control Bad Breath
- The primary source of chronic bad breath is the “Volatile Sulfur Compounds” produced by bacteria
- So the control of these bacteria would be an effective solution
Clinical tests have supported this logic. One such test, using a lozenge containing S. Salivaius K-12 (one of our ingredients) showed that this probiotic strain could significantly reduce VSC levels in 85% of the test subjects–quite impressive.
Several means by which probiotics work to control bad breath:
- One, the probiotics compete with the existing bad bacteria and reduce their presence by “crowding them out”
- Two, the probiotics produce BLIS or “bacteriocin-like-inhibitory-substances” which is a technical way of stating that a probiotic (bacteria) can produce substances that inhibit or kill other bacteria.
- Three, by working to control gingivitis, gum disease and tooth decay these probiotics reduce the very sources of bacteria-generated odors in the mouth.
Summary–Controlling Bad Breath or Halitosis for Good
The old saying “fighting fire with fire” could not be more appropriate than in the use of oral probiotics to fight bad breath… Oral probiotics attacks the condition at its root source by inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria.
Best yet, the result is not only fresher, cleaner breath but improved oral health across the boards.
Combining the use of Great Oral Health Advanced Probiotics with recommended daily brushing, flossing and even tongue scraping is simple, easy and effective. Give it a try for a few weeks and we are sure that you will join the rest of our happy, satisfied users in experiencing fresher, cleaner breath!