Hello and a very warm welcome to episode 038 of Elmar’s Tooth Talk: The missing link to total health. I am Dr Elmar Jung. Today we’re talking about a topic that people don’t like to talk about: bad breath.

As always, before we start let me tell you What’s in it for you in this episode:

We talk about:

  • Bad Breath Facts
  • WHAT are the 10 most common myths about bad breath
  • WHAT causes bad breath 
  • WHICH different smells have what causes
  • WHAT you can do to get rid of annoying bad breath

The good and probably the most important news about bad breath is that in the vast majority of cases the cause of bad breath is harmless and only very rarely is there a serious illness behind it.

Facts about bad breath

Bad breath is basically the collective term for different types of unpleasant smelling breath.

Bad breath can have quite harmless reasons, such as a garlic, onion or cabbage-rich dinner.

Luxury foods such as smoking, alcohol or an empty stomach can also be responsible. This type of short-term bad breath will also go away quickly.

More important is the bad breath, which affects people in the long term. There are two types of persistent bad breath.

Firstly, bad breath when you exhale from your mouth, which is only perceived by the person opposite you. Medically, the foetor ex ore is called the odour from the mouth.

And secondly, an unpleasant odour when exhaling through the nose, which is also perceived by the person concerned. This is known medically as halitosis.

The separation of the terms with regard to their cause is not always so clearly defined. Sometimes people speak of halitosis and mean bad breath or foetor ex ore and it stands for bad breath in general.

In the case of bad breath from the mouth, the cause is usually within the oral cavity, while the cause of bad breath from the nose is usually to be found in the respiratory organs, the digestive tract or in the metabolism.

It is assumed that almost around 50% of the population suffer from one or the other type of bad breath, but that only around 1% of those affected seek medical or dental help because of it.

Older people are more likely to be affected than younger people and men more often than women.

In the United States alone, over $ 500 million are spent each year trying to eliminate bad breath. You can imagine how much is being spent on it worldwide.

Bad breath reduces self-confidence and self-esteem, and in extreme cases can even lead to depression.

It is rarely mentioned that stress, for example through persistent fear or worry, as well as a negative emotional attitude can cause bad breath in the long term.

Ten misconceptions about bad breath

There are many myths about bad breath. Here I am telling you ten of these errors that you may have heard of.

Myth # 1: Mouthwashes make bad breath go away

Mouthwashes are used to destroy the bacteria in the mouth in the hope that this will reduce bad breath.

Most conventional mouthwashes eliminate not only bad, but also good bacteria in the mouth in the short term and, at the same time, have a negative effect on the oral flora, especially when used regularly.

As soon as the mouthwash is stopped, the bacteria recover. However, the putrefactive bacteria recover first, preventing the desired bacteria from spreading.

Bad breath is therefore only briefly covered by the mouthwash solution before it comes back with a revenge. 

The consequence of this is that the mouthwash solution is used permanently, which can lead to long-term side effects.

For example, if your mouthwash contains the additive chlorhexidine, the side effects can be taste impairment and tooth discolouration.

Alcohol in mouthwashes dries out the mouth, making breathing even more difficult.

Many commercial mouthwashes have a warning on the label that goes something like this: If accidentally swallowed, please seek professional help immediately or contact the Poison Control Centre. Not suitable for children under six years of age.

Research has also shown that alcohol in mouthwash can lead to an increase in oral cancer.

The best mouthwash is already in your mouth. It is your saliva! 

Fresh, clear saliva ensures a healthy oral flora, helps to support the “mouth-friendly” bacteria and to eliminate the “unfriendly” ones.

Myth # 2: Brushing your teeth prevents bad breath

Good oral hygiene is of course essential to minimize bad breath, but even if you brush your teeth correctly twice a day for four minutes and floss them, you still have no guarantee of preventing bad breath. The reason for this is that bad breath can have completely different causes in other areas, for example the tongue or outside the oral cavity.

Myth # 3: Bad breath can be inherited

There is no such thing as a bad breath gene.

Myth # 4: If I don’t smell anything, I don’t have bad breath

Only the bad breathing from the nose is noticed by the person concerned, the bad breath from the oral cavity only very rarely.

Misconception # 5: If you breathe into your hand, you can smell if you have bad breath

As we get used to our own smells, it is difficult to tell whether our own smell is fresh or unpleasant. Also, breathing needs different muscles than speaking, so just breathing into the hand doesn’t necessarily produce bad breath, while speaking does.

Myth # 6: Bad breath develops in the stomach

Only in very rare cases is the cause of bad breath in the stomach. In over 90% of cases, bad breath develops in the oral cavity. In 5-8% bad breath develops in the ear, nose and throat area and only in the remaining 2-5% bad breath actually occurs in the stomach.

Myth # 7: Bad breath can be treated with antibiotics

Antibiotics might be effective against bacteria but cannot eliminate bad breath.

Myth # 8: Bad breath is caused by Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacetr pylori is one of the most common causes of stomach ulcers, but not the cause of bad breath

Myth # 9: There is a universal cure for bad breath

In order to eliminate bad breath, the cause must be eliminated and the causes can be of very different nature.

Myth # 10: Bad breath cannot be cured – only masked

Again, eliminate the cause and the bad breath disappears.

What are the causes of bad breath

Bad breath can have a wide variety of causes and can arise in a wide variety of places. 

Causes in the oral cavity

The oral cavity is by far the place where bad breath occurs most frequently.

One of the main causes of bad breath from the oral cavity is poor oral hygiene. Food residues in the interdental spaces and plaque on teeth and tongue provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Other causes from a dental point of view can be:

  • Caries
  • gum inflammation
  • tooth abscesses
  • Dry mouth caused by breathing through the mouth, smoking, alcohol, medication or insufficient fluid intake
  • poorly maintained prostheses or braces
  • wrong diet with too much protein,
  • In very rare cases a tumour can also be responsible

Bad breath from the oral cavity can also have another cause, which I sometimes smell in my practice.

Bad breath from jawbone inflammation.

Only last week I had another patient for an initial examination in the office, who was brought to us by his wife because of his bad breath. Several areas that indicated chronic inflammation of the jaw were already visible on the X-ray. Upon closer inspection, I was even able to find a hole in the gums from which the putrid taste came out.

Here, of course, bone inflammation must be treated so that the bad breath disappears.

Causes in the throat

Pharyngitis or tonsillitis are the main issues here. Large almonds also get into their caves, where food residues decompose.

Causes in the respiratory tract

Chronic runny nose, sinus infections or chronic bronchitis should be considered here

Causes in the esophagus or stomach

For example, inflammation of the eating cavity, heartburn, gastric mucosal inflammation or gastric ulcer come into question

Causes by general illnesses

For example food allergies or intolerances, diabetes, liver or kidney dysfunction, prolonged fasting

If you suffer from bad breath for a long time or if you are made aware of it by friends, it would be advisable to discuss this with your dentist and have it examined accordingly. Even if this may seem embarrassing at first glance, it is important to have the cause clarified and to rule out a serious illness.

Different bad breaths have different causes

The smell of “rotten eggs” or sulfur is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene. This is due to the presence of bacteria, the putrefactive bacteria that live without oxygen. These bacteria break down food particles and proteins. 

These decomposition processes produce volatile sulfur compounds, so-called volatile sulfur compounds, or VSC for short. The air you breathe then smells like “rotten eggs”.

There is also a putrid odor from tonsillitis

In oral hygiene, it is very important that both the spaces between the teeth and the tongue are cleaned daily, because this is where the bacteria that cause bad breath prefer to settle.

Acetone smell (smells like nail polish remover) often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, on a fast or on a low-carb diet, when excess acetone is exhaled.

Fish, urine, or ammonia smell occurs in chronic kidney failure.

Sour smell occurs with stomach problems

The smell of decomposed meat often occurs in cancer patients

What can you do to eliminate annoying bad breath?

Generally speaking, the cause must be removed.

If stimulants such as alcohol, coffee or smoking are the reason, then these should be reduced or avoided.

Since 90% of bad breath is caused by the oral cavity, the dentist is also the best person to contact first.

10 tips if bad breath is an unpleasant companion

  1. Reduce chronic inflammation by taking Balance oil and Zinobiotic gut pre-biotics
  2. Have the dentist check your teeth, gums and tongue, and even the entire mouth area.
  3. Clean teeth twice a day. If done correctly, it takes at least 6 minutes. Obviously depending on how many gnashers you have left in your mouth
  4. Clean interdental spaces with dental floss, interdental brush or blotting brush
  5. Clean the tongue twice daily with a tongue scraper, preferably on getting up and before going to bed
  6. Use baking powder in the toothpaste or as a personal mix, it makes the pH value in the mouth alkaline
  7. Mix a maximum of 3% hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse solution with water 1: 1
  8. Bring in good bacteria called pro- and pre-biotics
  9. Pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet, if possible organic
  10. Limit cow’s milk products, grain, sugar consumption and 

 Drink enough pure clean water.

Here are a few more tips that can help.

  • Ensure that there is an adequate supply of vitamin B, vitamin C and zinc
  • Oil pulling can help reduce the bacteria
  • Parsley is a great herb to reduce bad breath
  • Medicinal herbs that have a strong antibacterial effect and thus help reduce putrefactive bacteria.
  • These include in alphabetical order: eucalyptus, fennel, chamomile, mint, cloves, rosemary, sage, thyme and cinnamon
  • You can either eat these herbs raw or use their essential oils
  • Lemon juice in the morning with a glass of warm water stimulates the spirit, helps in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease and supports the liver and kidneys.

So, we’ve come to the end of the podcast. I hope you can use some of the tips yourself or pass them on to friends. And I look forward to welcoming you again next week.

That’s it for today. Thanks for tuning in. 

This is Elmar’s Tooth Talk – The Missing Link To Total Health.

Until next time

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