March 31, 2014

Causes of Bad Breath

What causes bad breath?

Oral causes are responsible for 76% of oral malodor (bad breath).  The main sources are:
  • tongue coating accounts for 43% of it
  • gingivitis and periodontitis accounts for 18%

The Journal of Clinical Periodontology  reported on a study from the halitosis clinic at the Catholic University Leuven in Belgium.  A protocol for not eating onions, garlic or spicy food, not drinking coffee or alcohol or smoking cigarettes, and not using chewing gum, mints, drops, scents or mouthrinses before the breath measurements was established.  Medical history, oral hygiene habits, ENT problems and diet were recorded.  A clinical examination was performed, including and organoleptic (smelling of the breath) test and an evaluation of tongue coating visually and by weighing the scrapings from the back of the tongue.

Results for bad breath

The results showed clear correlations between organoleptic scores and tongue coating scores, weight of tongue scrapings, and the objective measure of volatile sulphur compounds by the OralChroma device.  In addition, subjects who smoked, did not floss between their teeth or had a diet of predominantly soft food had more tongue coating and higher oral malodor scores.

J Clin Perio 40:180-185, 2013, as reported in Dentaltown news

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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