Halitosis, Morning Breath

Donald Trump To Larry King “Your Breath Is Awful”

By —— Bio and Archives--December 30, 2007

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Are you having trouble getting a second date? Do you see friends backing away when you’re speaking to them. Or has your faithful dog started to sit on the other side of the room. If so, you may be suffering from ‘Halitosis”. But before you lose your last friend there are ways to fight this problem. A good start is to take the blueberry test. It will also help to save your teeth.


I’ve often thought that being a dentist must be an awful job if your patient has halitosis. How can he or she back away while doing a root canal? Or how can singers facing each other still smile when one has halitosis? But the reverse can also be true. Years ago I suffered a dentist whose breath in my face was agony. No one had the intestinal fortitude to tell him to seek advice.

Bad breath can be due to a variety of problems ranging from minor to the serious. Emotions play a role. For instance, sexual excitement may be associated with halitosis and prisoners about to be executed often have foul breath.

People with untreated diabetes exhibit a sweet, fruity odour to their breath. And a fishy or mousey odour is often present in the final stages of liver disease.

A number of mouth and throat conditions can trigger halitosis. Infected gums are often associated with halitosis. So are sinus infections that discharge bad smelling mucus into the back of the throat. Infected tonsils and bronchitis can similarly trigger a troublesome odour. And I recall a five year old child who years ago suffered from bad breath. Eventually a cause was discovered. He had stuck a bean up his nose weeks earlier!   

But normally bad breath occurs when sulfur-containing amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are broken down by bacteria that thrive in an oxygen-free environment. This produces a mix of malodorous gases.

Eating foods such as onions and garlic are well-known to trigger the back-away syndrome. After these foods are digested and absorbed into the blood stream, they’re carried to the lungs and add odour to your breath until eliminated from the body. Remember that one-billionth of an ounce of onion can be detected by our sense of smell.
The Journal of the American Medical Association says that the too frequent use of selenium can cause halitosis. Selenium sulfide is used to treat dandruff. This chemical is also in some lipsticks.

Some people have smaller amounts of saliva that normally helps to cleanse the mouth. Inadequate amounts allow dead cells to accumulate on the tongue and gums which cause an odour. Since our mouth becomes drier during sleep this accounts for that less-than-fresh morning breath. Smoking and certain medications also decrease the amount of saliva.
As well, “morning breath” isn’t helped by a big night on the town the night before. Alcohol has practically no odour. It’s the other ingredients in alcoholic beverages that make you turn your head from the stale smell of over-indulgence.

A primary way to battle halitosis is to start with improved dental hygiene. But this doesn’t mean just brushing teeth three times a day after meals. Friends may still turn their heads if you don’t include the blueberry test.

Eat a bowl of blueberries and then brush your teeth 10 times. Follow with either stimudents or floss. You will stare in amazement at the many bits of blueberries still trapped between teeth. This is where bad breath begins.

Brush the tongue too, which most people fail to do. The tongue contains deep furrows where debris collects and gases hover.

The blueberry test, by removing trapped food particles, helps to prevent halitosis but also helps to save gums from gingivitis which in turn saves teeth from falling out later in life.

I hope this column will save some readers from losing a friend. But suppose a friend has halitosis. What should you do? Some people advise sending an anonymous e-mail. Or you could follow Donald Trump’s straight-talking approach. During an interview with Larry King, Trump remarked, “Do you mind if I sit back a little? Your breath is very bad.”


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Dr. Gifford Jones -- Bio and Archives | Comments

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker’s website is: Docgiff.com

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