What makes bad breath smell?

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Eating a savory meal or smoking a cigarette can certainly make breath go from good to bad, but sometimes halitosis can seemingly come from nowhere. If bad breath is not always caused by smelly things, then what gives it its odor?

Posted: June 16, 2011

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Eating a savory meal or smoking a cigarette can certainly make breath go from good to bad, but sometimes halitosis can seemingly come from nowhere. If bad breath is not always caused by smelly things, then what gives it its odor?

In a word - or really, in three words - it's volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that are largely to blame, although you might broaden the group of molecular suspects to include aromatic compounds in general.

VSCs do not just appear in your mouth. As the bacteria on your tongue digest proteins and sugars, they give off these molecules as byproducts of their digestion. The result is that the microbes stay healthy while you get bad breath. Using an oral care probiotics product, like the Blis M18 Probiotics Kit, can help get rid of these nasty critters.

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Chromatography B attempted to break down the scent of healthy people's halitosis into its constituent molecules, and its authors found plenty.

The most common unpleasant aromatic molecule they found was acetone, the primary ingredient in nail polish remover. As if that pungent reek weren't enough, the group detected another 13 foul-smelling substances.

These included the VSCs responsible for the smell of garlic, rotten eggs and cabbage. 

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