After cavities and gingivitis, bad breath is thought to be the third most common reason for scheduled dental exams. According to a study in the journal Current Infectious Disease Reports, between 20 and 50 percent of Americans likely suffer from serious halitosis.
Walter J. Loesche, dental clinician and author of the study, writes that the widespread problem has nevertheless been largely ignored by the medical establishment, even though a few simple remedies may treat even the most powerful breath.
Regular brushing and tongue cleaning can prevent buildup of tartar, food particles and bacteria, which in combination can emit the foul compounds associated with unpleasant breath. The most common of these compounds is hydrogen sulfide, whose aroma the human brain instinctively associates with rotting food.
Loesche recommends considering breath freshening mouthrinses in order to fully fight the odors associated with oral bacterial growth.
In particular, hydrogen sulfide and other noxious sulfur compounds may be eliminated by using specialty breath fresheners containing oxidizing agents that neutralize sulfides and kill bacteria.