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Bad breath, or halitosis, has been a recorded problem for thousands of years. In Jewish Talmudic Law over 2000 years ago, a mouth malodor was a motive for divorce. Chinese emperors in Old China used to ask their visitors to chew clove before personal meetings. Ancient Greeks used fragrance in their mouths. The Romans used mechanisms to hide halitosis, such as perfumed tablets, chewing leaves, or stalks of plants.

Today, $10 billion dollars are spent on toothpastes, mouth washes, drops, sprays, meltaways, and breath mints. Treating bad breath in this way is like not bathing and using cologne to cover body odor; it does not get to the root of the cause. Bad breath cover-ups only last for a short period of time.

Bacteria form slime layers called biofilms. The bacteria deeper in the biofilm are anaerobic (oxygen hating) and are insulated from the oxygen. The older the biofilm, the thicker and the more anaerobes. Bad breath is most often caused by these anaerobic bacteria which produce sulfur gas compounds.

Since bacteria reproduce so rapidly, cover-ups only temporarily help the problem. In order to solve the problem, the bad breath bacteria must be reduced at their origin. So let’s look at the origins. Bad breath comes from 4 sources; the sinuses, oral cavity, stomach, and lungs. At our practice, your dentist will review how each of these organs can contribute to bad breath. The sinuses primarily drain to the back of the throat. Sinus bacterial mucus buildup in the nose, related sinuses and the back of the throat is a common cause of bad breath. Daily nose and sinus hygiene is the best prevention for bacterial buildup.

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