It's not your fault if you have bad breath.
In fact, most people with halitosis are so concerned about it that they tend
to have far better oral hygiene practices than the average person.
According to the most current research, over 90 percent of all cases of
chronic bad breath originate in the mouth, NOT in the stomach, sinuses, or lungs. Virtually all cases of bad
breath are caused by Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs). One compound is hydrogen
sulfide (the rotten egg smell) and another is methyl mercaptan (the essence of
The source of these compounds is bacteria in the mouth breaking down the cell
wall of dead cells. These anaerobic
bacteria collect and multiply mainly on the tongue. They thrive in a dry, dark
environment such as under the gums, the spaces between the teeth, and the
crevices of the tongue.
A person's diet can cause bad breath, because certain foods can trigger a
substantial increase of anaerobic bacteria that produce VSCs. Coffee, an
integral part of our society, contains acids that decrease oxygenation of the
mouth, which, in turn, increases bacteria production. Dairy products, the focus
of a recent media blitz promoting healthy eating habits, are high in proteins
that the bacteria break down to create the VSCs. Sugar containing mints and
chewing gum also produce VSCs, when the anaerobic bacteria break them down.
Spicy foods and onions contain sulfur byproducts that are absorbed into the
blood stream, and are expelled by the lungs. Additionally, alcohol-containing
mouth rinses dry the mouth, causing
a condition by the name of xerostomia, or "Dry Mouth Syndrome."
Dieting can cause bad breath in the form of a hunger odor, a.k.a. "morning
breath," which goes along with the sensation of hunger. Some evidence leads to
the conclusion that this odor is a product of the decomposition and rotting of
pancreatic juices, which passes into
the stomach while the body fasts. The odor worsens if one skips breakfast.
Gum disease, most certainly, can cause bad breath, because food trapped in
gum pockets can rot and ferment, which releases sulfur products, and increases
tartar buildup on the teeth, which also traps bacteria that release sulfur
products. Most know that smoking causes bad breath, and that heart problems
eventually result from the habit, but few realize that smoking causes gum
disease, and that gum disease can cause heart problems.
Certain medications, for example blood pressure medication, antidepressant
medication, antihistamine medication, and cold medication, just to mention a
few, cause "Dry Mouth Syndrome." This syndrome decreases saliva production,
leaving the mouth without a lubricant to cleanse itself and to remove food
Distinctive odors are often associated with certain medical conditions, and
can play a critical role in detecting and diagnosing potential life-threatening
illnesses. Common medical conditions associated with halitosis include
respiratory infections, such as infections of the nose, windpipe, or lungs,
chronic bronchitis, postnasal drip, and sinusitis. Other conditions include, but
are not limited to, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, liver or kidney
disorders, and metabolic disorders.
（英语点津 Annabel 编辑）