We all know that eating garlic and onions will give us bad breath, but why do these foods as well as many other foods make our breath smell so bad? Most of the time, the reason stems from strong volatile sulfur compounds contained in bad breath foods that resemble anaerobic bacteria found in the mouths of those who suffer from chronic halitosis.
Volatile sulfur compounds, or VSCs, emerge when sulfurous precursors such as methionine promote conversion of cysteine (an amino acid) to hydrogen sulfide (the primary cause of "rotten egg" odors). Eventually, a substance known as methyl mercaptan is the result of this complex chemical process that ultimately concludes in the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria and severe halitosis.
Four different kinds of foods directly stimulate production of oral VSCs:
- Desiccating foods
- Sugary foods
- Acidic foods
- Foods that contain rich amounts of protein
Foods that are considered drying agents and therefore conducive to anaerobic bacterial growth are: Alcohol (wine, beer and whiskey) and foods high in sodium such as olives and varieties of pickled vegetables. Alcohol causes the worst form of dry mouth in which the flow of saliva is substantially inhibited as well as the oxygen content of the mouth. Click here to learn more about Dry Mouth.
Unfortunately, anaerobic bacteria thrive and exude vast amounts of VSCs in dry, stagnant conditions created by alcohol consumption. Compounding this issue is the fact that many name-brand mouthwashes contain at least 15 to 20 percent alcohol. People using these "alcoholic" mouthwashes do not realize they are actually worsening their halitosis by creating an oral environment that promotes excessive bacterial reproduction.
Cheese, milk, cottage cheese and yogurt - while all contain nutrients necessary for bone health, they also create an oral condition in which huge amounts of amino acids (broken down from proteins) are easily modified for rapid conversion into anaerobic bacteria and the VSC excretions responsible for bad breath. People who are especially sensitive to protein-dense foods find that eating fish, chicken and beef (foods that are also full of protein) often exacerbates a chronic condition of halitosis.
Microorganisms thrive on different chemical forms of sugars and anaerobic bacteria are no exception. In addition to causing bad breath, sugary foods also attract other types of bacteria that manufacture peptidoglycan strands, which are essentially enzymes contributing to plaque development, gum disease and tooth decay.
People who use most name-brand chewing gums, mints or hard candies to mask bad breath are only contributing to their problem because most of these breath cover-ups contain sugar and do nothing towards eliminating anaerobic bacteria and their noxious VSCs.
Fortunately, Dr. Harold Katz, the respected creator of the TheraBreath line of oral hygiene products, has produced a highly effective gum that releases antibacterial agents like zinc gluconate and oxygen molecules into the mouth that directly attack bacteria and eliminate halitosis instead of simply disguising it for a few hours. TheraBreath oxygenating chewing gum does not contain sugar but uses xylitol as a sweetener, a natural breath freshener that also fights tooth decay and gum disease.
Foods high in acid include coffee, tea, citrus juices (pineapple, orange, grapefruit) and tomato juice. When the mouth exhibits a high acid content, bacteria begin reproducing at an alarming rate. Neutralizing this acidic condition is necessary to inhibit bacterial growth and reduce VSC emission.
Sufficient saliva flow is necessary to neutralize acids that come from foods as well as the stomach (acid reflux). Saliva is rich with natural buffers and minerals that contribute to optimal oral health. When the mouth is dry, acids are given free rein to erode tooth enamel, eat away at gumlines and promote anaerobic bacterial production. The consequences of consuming acidic foods are potentially the rapid development of cavities, gingivitis and bad breath.
Dentists can check the pH level of your mouth to determine whether a high acid content is partially responsible for chronic halitosis. A normal oral pH level is around 6.5, so any number below that is considered acidic. Rates higher than seven are said to be indicative of an alkaline (basic) condition.
Counteracting the Effects of Bad Breath Foods with Probiotics
In addition to brushing, flossing and using the non-alcoholic mouthwashes provided by TheraBreath Oral Hygiene products, individuals suffering from chronic halitosis can eliminate their embarrassing problem by using TheraBreath's Multi-Symptom Probiotics Treatment Kit that contains TheraBreath PLUS oral rinse, toothpaste, a tongue cleaner, Aktiv-K12 Probiotic chewing gum and lozenges.
Probiotics are special microorganisms, specifically B. coagulans and S. salivarius,that promote healthy teeth and gums by expeditiously populating the mouth to eliminate anaerobic bacteria and bad breath. In fact, research into the root causes of bad breath has discovered time after time that these two bacteria are absent in the mouths of people who have bad breath.
Moreover, oral colonization of probiotic bacteria inhibits the proliferation of other pathogens by preventing these bacteria from adhering to oral cavities, gums and the tongue. In fact, by using TheraBreath's probiotic oral hygiene products, consumers will be also help to eliminate bacteria that are known to cause sore throats, ear infections, and other respiratory illnesses, as well as destroy anaerobes responsible for bad breath.