Super Smelly Ferment-Tastic Kimchi Halitosis

Bowl of kimchi

bad breath is a problem that spans continents, oceans, cultures and time periods. If you think you've got it bad, just remember that the majority of humans on this planet have suffered from halitosis, too. Take South Korea, where Reuters recently reported that researchers are looking to solve the problem of bad breath by way of a genetically modified apple.

This fruit would be tart enough to cover halitosis caused by traditional Korean foods like kimchi, the news organization noted.

What is kimchi? The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) reports that the food item is a traditional dish that has been served in northeast Asia for thousands of years. It is made by salting cabbage leaves, covering them with ginger, red pepper paste, garlic, radishes and scallions.

The entire mixture is then put into a large stone or clay pot, buried and allowed to ferment for months. This pickling process was implemented to help agriculture-reliant peasants store vegetables for the winter, when a lack of produce could mean a case of scurvy. Anyway, if this brew - which the KTO says has been around since the 7th century AD, if not before - sounds like a recipe for bad breath, that's because it typically is.

Garlic by itself is enough to cause oral odor, since its primary aromatic compound, allyl methyl sulfide, is extremely potent and can taint one's exhaled air for hours after ingestion.

Likewise, scallions, cabbage, ginger, radishes and peppers each entail their own particular brand of halitosis. Add them all together, with a dash of sour taste from the fermentation, and what you get is a traditional food that can ratchet bad breath practically to the limit.

The problem that many people have with kimchi, however, is that it can be delicious. It is unlikely that this food has become internationally popular for tasting awful. Many individuals in and outside of Korea report loving kimchi, which has a flavor that is quite unlike most typical Western dishes.

Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions to this impasse. The first is to use toothpaste, dental floss, a specialty breath freshening rinse and an oral care probiotic kit to neutralize odor molecules and scrub away or replace the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Also, for those who eat kimchi regularly, it is important to drink plenty of water. Not only does water flush many of the fermented food particles out of the mouth and into the digestive tract, but keeping the palate moist also slows the growth of odor-causing microbes.

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