Halitosis also means “bad breath”.

Most people upon waking have transient bad breath which can be cleared up by brushing one’s teeth.  However, there are people who have ongoing bad breath problems, no matter how well they brush their teeth or how much fluid they drink. It is this kind of halitosis which can affect a person’s quality of life.

New discoveries

Initially, bad breath was thought to originate from the mouth with an overgrowth of bacteria on the back of the tongue. However, recent research has indicated that it is not necessarily the mouth and the pharynx that contributes to halitosis. Volatile sulphite compounds are the main culprits – hydrogen sulphite methal mercaptan and dimethal sulphite.

These are produced by the colonic bacteria through fermentation of food.

These gases may be reabsorbed from the colon and then appear in the breath.

The Centre for Digestive Diseases is now able to measure these gases using the Halimeter breath testing machine. Treatment is available with special antibacterial agents that can suppress the sulphite producing gases.

This research is spearheaded by Prof Terry Bolin who is the inventor of this technology and has much experience in this field.