Want to know if you have bad breath?
Just stick out your tongue and inspect it in the mirror, a leading dentist advises.
Dr Harold Katz, dentist and founder of the The California Breath Clinics, says the state of a person’s tongue can reveal whether their breath is a bit odorous.
Tongues which are more uneven can hide more bacteria, which leads to bad breath, he said.
And the more coated a tongue is, the more likely it is a person’s will suffer from mouth odour.
Here, in the latest version of his book, Bad Breath Bible, he explains what your tongue says about your health, as well as other surprising causes of bad breath, from detergent-based toothpastes to high-protein diets…
HOW BACTERIA CAUSES BAD BREATH
Bad breath is the result of billions of bad-breath-related bacteria eating left over proteins in your mouth and converting them to smelly, sulphur based waste.
Your mouth is alive with living organisms – bacteria which live and thrive in its warm, dark environment.
Some of these bacteria are beneficial, helping your body to resist invaders and digest proteins.
Other bacteria may be hostile, eventually resulting in things like sore throat or ear infection.
Regardless of their intent, bacteria live and multiply in your mouth, below the surface of your tongue, at the back of your throat and on your tonsils (if you still have them) by the billions.
Billions of bacteria eating and then secreting waste can result in a lot of foul-smelling material.
Certain types of sulphur-producing-bacteria emit noxious smelling waste composed of sulphur compounds.
These compounds include hydrogen sulphide (smells like rotten eggs), methyl mercaptan (smells like rotten cabbage), putrescine and cadaverine (both smell like decay) and several other unpleasant odours.
Some of these waste compounds are so potent they are also found in nature in the glands of skunks.
The pungent smells that come from the waste of this type of bacteria are what we typically refer to as bad breath.