Science Explains What Causes Bad Breath

Do you ever wonder why some people suffer from chronic bad breath?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because they don’t regularly brush their teeth or visit the dentist. And it’s not actually caused by eating too much onions or garlics.

A video produced by TED-Ed revealed the real culprit behind halitosis. According to bad breath expert Mel Rosenberg, the gram negative bacteria thriving in between our teeth and gums as well as at the back of our tongue are responsible for the stinky mouth syndrome.

These bacteria, which feed off food remnants, mucus, and dead tissue cells, need to break down the organic molecules into smaller molecules so that they can absorb nutrients. As a result, they produce smelly byproducts such as hydrogen sulfide and cadaverine which eventually results to foul-smelling breath.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to prevent bad breath such as brushing and flossing your teeth, gargling using an antibacterial mouthwash, and cleaning the back of your tongue using a plastic scraper.

If such measures can’t solve the problem, you can be suffering from nasal conditions, dental problems or diseases such as diabetes or liver disease. Refraining from smoking and drinking alcohol in excess can also prevent bad breath.

Watch the video below.

Ways to Smell Your Breath

Believe it or not, it’s actually difficult for us to smell our own breaths. This is because we already got acclimatized to its smell making it difficult for our brain to detect foul-smelling odor.

Hand-cupping method is probably the most popular way to smell your breath but it is considered the least effective.

There are a couple of ways to check how your mouth really smells. Here are a few methods, according to WebMD. 

  1. Wrist Method– Simply lick your wrist and smell it after 10 seconds.
  2. Tongue Swab Method– Using a q-tip, a spoon, a toothpick, a cotton swab or your finger, gently rub the far back of your tongue. Set aside for a minute and then smell.
  3. Cheek Pulling Method– Pinch your cheeks to pull them away from your teeth, then push them back towards your teeth. Do this repeatedly and sniff at the same time.
  4. Swabbing your Cheeks– Follow the procedure in method number 2 but swab the insides of your cheeks instead.