Having halitosis is no picnic, particularly once you are told what your breath smells like. The most common compound scenting bad breath is hydrogen sulfide - the chemical that gives rotten eggs their unmistakable odor - but another putrid molecule, cadaverine, appears in bad breath in significant quantities as well.
Research published in the Journal of Dental Research indicates that cadaverine, the compound that gives corpses their unbearable scent, is present in halitosis in quantities great enough to effect its smell.
Scientists at the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine analyzed the chemical makeup of bad breath using high-performance liquid chromatography, which is a process that separates organic samples into their basic molecules.
The team found that the presence or absence of cadaverine significantly affected whether breath was judged to be good or bad.
Like many bad breath compounds, cadaverine is technically toxic. Fortunately for humans, it is lethal in amounts millions of times higher than can possibly be found in the mouth, according to a study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
To neutralize what little, yet what powerful, cadaverine their may be on the palate, individuals with halitosis can use a specialty breath freshening product that bonds to and removes odor compounds.