You wouldn't necessarily think that regularly getting hit in the mouth is tied to having halitosis, but then again, those of us who run a daily risk of getting a knuckle sandwich probably have more pressing things to think about sometimes. Like, you know, getting slugged in the kisser.
This is the predicament of quite a few folks, actually. Individuals who get into fights or brawls often - such as active military members, martial artists and professional boxers - may have a higher-than-average likelihood of suffering broken or lost teeth. And believe it or not, losing a pearly white can lead to halitosis.
Dental damage is connected to bad breath in several ways. For one thing, a broken tooth exposes its enamel-less inside to the air. According to an article in the Western Journal of Medicine, this problem needs to be fixed, since bacteria can invade a broken tooth, leading to decay, cavities or oral odor.
Also, breaking or losing a tooth increases the risk of oral infections, which can also cause bad breath, not to mention pain, swelling and tenderness. The article noted that many dentists treat an infected socket with chlorhexidine, the same gentle, effective ingredient found in the best specialty breath freshening products.
Unfortunately, for folks who get socked in the jaw on a regular basis, their dental protection regimen can lead to a no-win situation. Studies have shown that wearing a mouth guard can radically reduce the risk of losing a tooth, but these devices can collect bacteria and lead to - you guessed it - halitosis.
This may be why many military members simply refuse to wear mouth guards, as is reported in the delightfully titled article "Orofacial Injuries and Mouth Guard Use in Elite Commando Fighters," in the journal Military Medicine.
We'd tell those guys to at least use a specialty breath freshener, but, well...we're scared of them.