Why People Get Bad Breath

If you suffer from bad breath then it is in your own interest to find out why people get bad breath.

In any war, knowing your enemy is an important part of the tactics. Stick around and you can get up close and personal with the worst of the darstardly bad breath bacteria.

A recent study on why people get bad breath published by the American Dental Association names 'em and shames 'em.

This study on the bacteria in your mouth concentrated on the ones that live on the tongue and are associated with halitosis (medical term for bad breath). Samples were taken from 8 people with bad breath and 5 people who did not have bad breath were used as a control.

The beauty of this particular study is that the researchers concentrated on "noncultivable microorganisms". These are the bacteria that often escape being studied because the little varmints refuse to be cultivated by the usual scientific methods. However there are new methods (broad-range polymerase chain reaction or PCR - if you really want to know) that can now identify these microorganisms and as there are more noncultivable bacteria species than cultivable species this is a real breakthrough.

Samples were collected by "gently scraping an area of the dorsal tongue surface" - yep, that's right, just like how I told you to do it on the bad breath test page! Well, almost the same. Maybe the scientist didn't use the back of a teaspoon!

Interesting points that emerged where there was a strong connection between the severity of the bad breath and having a thick yellow or grey tongue coating. As the coating on the tongue consists of dead cells, blood cells and bacteria it is obviously prone to the accumulation of bacteria. More than 100 bacteria can live on a single cell on the tongue against about 25 bacteria on cells in other parts of the mouth.

And you wonder why people get bad breath! Your coated tongue is where it's all happening!

There were more bacterial species found ONLY in the group with bad breath than in the control group.

The researchers found 32 species only in the halitosis group whilst they found 17 species that lived only in the control group. That alone says something about why people get bad breath - or at least why some do and some don't.

Solobacterium moorei was in every member of the halitosis group (as high as 10.8% of the total in one individual) and was not present in any of the control group.

There's your number one culprit in the war against bad breath. Line him up against a wall and shoot him!

bad breath bugs


Solobacterium moorei 100%
Granulicatella elegens 63%
Eubacterium species 50%
Firmicutes species 50%
Unidentified oral bacterium 38%
Porphyromonas species 38%
Staphylococcus warneri 38%
Dialister species 25%
Prevotella intermedia 25%

So, there you have it. Those are the major culprits implicated in why some people get bad breath.


How to treat halitosis with probiotics

A 2005 study found that "an increase in the number of hydrogen sulfide produing bacteria in the tongue biofilm is responsible for oral malodour..."2

The probiotic Streptococcus salivarius k12 is the probiotic of choice to treat halitosis. No other probiotic currently will give you the result that this one will. You can find this strain in Therabreath's Oral Care where it rebalances the microflora in your mouth.



1. Haraszthy VI,Zambon JJ,Sreenivasan PK, Zambon MM, Gerber D,Rego R, Parker C. Identification of Oral Bacteria Species Associated with Halitosis. American Dental Association Volume 138 Number 8, pp 1113-1120. 2007

2. Washio J, Sato T, Koseki T, Takahashi N. Hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in tongue biofilm and their relationship with oral malodour. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 54 pp 889-995 2005