Some of the most common causes of Bad breath are oral bacteria. Bad breath , also known as "halitosis" can cause embarrassment and frustration but it is a common problem and almost everyone has experienced it at some time. The biggest cause is bacteria that reside in our mouths.
Many of these oral bacteria excrete by-products like "sulfur" that cause the odor.
Bacteria, just like humans, consume foods in turn excrete waste. The waste products produced by some oral bacteria are sulfur compounds. And it is these sulfur compounds that usually lie at the root of a person's breath problems.
Have you ever smelled a rotten egg?
The stench associated with rotten eggs is caused by the sulfur compound hydrogen sulfide. Bad breath is caused by "volatile sulfur compounds." Volatile" simply describes the fact that these compounds evaporate very easily even at normal temperatures. The extreme volatility of VSC's explains how these compounds have the ability to offend those around us, instantly. Dentists refer to the sulfur compounds excreted by oral bacteria as waste as "volatile sulfur compounds" (VSC's). While volatile sulfur compounds are the principle causative agents of bad breath, the bacteria that live in our mouth produce other waste products too. Some of these have their own unique and unpleasant smell.
It somewhat surprising to discover that this wonderful mix of compounds emanates from the mouths of humans. It happens to all of us. Everyone has some amount of these unpleasant compounds in their breath. Fortunately, however, at low levels these bad smelling compounds cannot be detected by the human nose. It's only when the amount of these compounds becomes elevated that others can detect our "bad" breath.
Bad breath is caused by waste products produced by anaerobic oral bacteria.
Most of the compounds that cause bad breath (hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, cadaverine, putrescine, skatole) are the waste products of anaerobic bacteria (more specifically Gram-negative anaerobic bacteria). The term "anaerobic" describes the fact that these types of bacteria grow best in environments that have no existing oxygen. A person's mouth can be home for hundreds of different species of bacteria. And on going in our mouth, at all times, is a constant battle for living space between the types of bacteria which do create waste products that cause bad breath and those that don't. And it is the precise balance between the relative numbers of these two different types of bacteria that will ultimately determine the quality of a person's breath.
Dental plaque accumulation can cause the proliferation of the odor causing bacteria. You might be surprised to learn that even a thin layer of plaque - even the same thickness as as wax paper) can be without oxygen , thus creating an environment in which
anaerobic bacteria will flourish. So, you see as plaque builds up in a person's mouth the bacteria that cause bad breath multiply and grow, thus increasing the level of odor causing compounds that escape with each breath that is exhaled.
What is the food source for the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath?
Most of the volitile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath are waste products created by anaerobic bacteria as they digest proteins. This means that as we consume food items the bacteria that live in our mouths are getting the same nutrition and afterward will producing the waste products that cause bad breath.
How We Can Help YOU..
Starting with brushing and flossing at intervals during the day can be very important to control your bad breath. Additionally, please call us to schedule your checkup to help you get control of this problem.