Nearly all bad breath is caused by a combination of poor dental care, food particles and a dry mouth. Now, researchers are saying that a rare medical condition that affects the salivary glands and tear ducts may lead to difficulties feeling or processing emotions.
A study presented before the European League Against Rheumatism's 2011 Annual Congress stated that 22 percent of people with Sjogren's syndrome suffer from alexithymia, a condition in which it is difficult to describe emotions and to determine what others are feeling.
By comparison, just 12 percent of health control subjects had alexithymia, according to Dutch researchers from Utrecht University.
A genetic disease that affects up to 4 million Americans, the Sjogren's syndrome can also cause organ dysfunction, according to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation.
A common symptom of the disease is xerostomia, or dry mouth. The syndrome attacks glands that keep the palate moist. Without sufficient saliva, individuals with the condition can quickly develop powerful bad breath, as oral bacteria multiply and give off foul aromas.
Using a specialty breath freshening rinse can moisten the mouth, although some people with the syndrome have to use artificial saliva and to see the dentist often, since cavities are a big possibility without saliva.