Halitosis also means “bad breath”.
Most people upon waking have transient bad breath which can be cleared up by a cup of coffee or brushing one's teeth. However there is another subgroup of patients who have ongoing bad breath which can be quite marked, no matter how well they brush their teeth or how much fluids they drink. It is this kind of Halitosis which can affect a person’s life and lead to quite marked depression.
Initially bad breath was thought to stem predominantly 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 contribute to Halitosis. Volatile sulphite compounds are the main culprits – hydrogen sulphite methal mercaptan and dimethal sulphite.
These are manufactured by the colonic bacteria through fermentation of normal substances in patients whose colons contains sulphite – reducing bacteria. These gases may be reabsorbed from the colon and expired 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 whole technology and has much experience in this field.