Bad Breath–It's Bacterial (But is it too much or the wrong kinds?)

April 28, 2020 4 min read

Bad Breath, monkey

Bad breath (or as dentists like to call it “oral malodor”) is one of the top three complaints that dentists hear from their patients. Oral malodor ranks right up there with gum disease and tooth decay as an unwanted condition.

Traditionally, dental science has always considered that bad breath came from bacterial overgrowth. To be exact, it was not the quality of the bacteria but the overall quantity of bacteria that was the bad breath “bad guy.”

Their solution was to just kill off all bacteria with non-selective treatments to reduce the total number of bacteria in the mouth. Even with focused attention to the problem areas of the gum pockets and back of the tongue, this solution is of short-term value. This is because the “bad guys” grow right back, and quite rapidly, as soon as treatment stops.

One thing that is correct is that the PRIMARY cause of bad breath is bacterial. As the bacteria in your mouth metabolize they produce some really stinky byproducts. This happens in your gut as well. When you have a lot of gas in the gut, this is largely caused by bacteria–and we know how that smells! 

Here are some important things about this subject: 

  1. The stinky byproducts are not connected to all bacteria, but are mostly associated with certain types of bacteria. (Warning! Technical words ahead) These are called “gram-negative anaerobes” and all that fancy wording means is that they are gram-negative (Gram was name of a scientist and he identified types of bacteria by using a stain–the ones that turned red were called “gram-negative. This is due to their different and thinner cell wall. And “anaerobes” are just bacteria that don’t live where oxygen is present–like in your gum pockets).
  2. Most of the "bad breath" bacteria live in your gum pockets and the back of your tongue. These are areas that are hard to clean and when the “bad guy” bacteria take over, then they can be very tough to get rid of.
  3. While good oral hygiene is a very important part of controlling bad breath, as well as maintaining good oral health, it is not the only solution for chronic bad breath.
  4. While “cover-ups” and broad, non-selective anti-bacterial treatments can provide some relief, these are not long-term solutions for chronic bad breath. 

Japanese Researchers Suggest a Different Approach to Curing Chronic Bad Breath

A group of Japanese researchers, from several dental colleges and universities, conducted a study to see if 1) chronic bad breath was a problem of bacterial quantity or quality and 2) if a better approach would be to adjust the bacterial population to a healthier composition. 

After all, they understood that improving the composition of the bacterial population in the gut results in many health benefits (including reducing intestinal gas), so the reasoning was that the same method could be beneficial for improving oral health–and specifically in this study, improving “oral malodor.” 

The results were quite positive. As they stated in their study, “These results clearly correlate the global composition of indigenous bacterial populations with the severity of oral malodor.” 

They went on to say that, “The results of this investigation clearly demonstrate that oral malodor is a symptom based on the characteristic occupation of indigenous oral bacterial populations, rather than solely on bacterial overgrowth due to poor oral hygiene.”

And quite interestingly, the study stated that, “Our results suggest the necessity of supplemental treatments to completely cure oral malodor by improving the quality of the indigenous bacterial populations.” This statement was made in comparison to the current treatment of solely focusing upon the count, or number, of total bacteria present.

The Quality of Your Oral Bacteria Can Be More Powerful in Curing Bad Breath than the Quantity (Amount) of Oral Bacteria

Bottom line, the primary source of chronic bad breath is related more to the types of bacteria in your mouth and the overall mix, or composition, of the bacteria population in your mouth.

And as this study suggests, a complete cure could be found by improving the “mix in your mouth.”

This is the approach we take with our holistically-based oral health products. Our all-natural tooth and gum oil (OraRestore) helps to control the overgrowth of the “bad guys” while our advanced formula oral probiotics bring in beneficial bacteria to improve the bacterial ecology in your mouth.

And so, we work to bring about not only healthier teeth and gums but long-term fresher breath as well by attacking chronic bad breath at its primary source. 

(NOTE: while fresher breath can often be experienced rather quickly, it can take time to really tackle chronic bad breath. It can also be very important to visit your dentist as a deep-pocket cleaning may be recommended)

LINK: It is rather technical but if you would like to read the study, then here is a download link: Japanese study on bad breath and oral bacteria


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