Researchers in Japan have identified what they believe are the patterns of oral bacterial growth that lead to bad breath.
Their results, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, suggest that a total overhaul of the mouth’s bacterial colonies may be necessary to “cure” halitosis.
The study involved the collection and analysis of samples of oral microorganisms from 240 individuals with self-diagnosed bad breath. It found that levels of sulfuric compounds, which cause the odor associated with halitosis, were significantly lower in patients with a particular formation of oral bacteria.
The number of bacteria in the mouth did not appear to affect the quality of breath as much as the particular species found. People with lower sulfur levels tended to have higher numbers of Granulicatella, Rothia, Streptococcus and Treponema bacteria.
Eliminating the cause of halitosis might take a complete reorganization of the organisms living in the mouth, the team concluded, which could be a potentially difficult task to accomplish.
In lieu of the bacterial modification, individuals with bad breath may simply rinse the mouth with a specialty breath freshener, particularly any kind that neutralizes sulfuric odor compounds.