Locating the Source of Halitosis

More than one third of all the people in the world suffer from halitosis. It’s a common problem that dental professionals encounter with patients, and until now, there hasn’t been a universally accepted protocol for identifying the source of the problem. Common causes that have been explained to patients include poor oral hygiene, lack of proper oral health care infection or genetics. Many diagnosis have been accurate, while many others have been skewed.

But a recent study that was conducted at the Faculty of Dentistry of Cukurova University in Turkey aimed to find whether odor sources could be detected. There are three sources of halitosis including mouth, nasal, and alveolar breath. The research team used common gases found in halitosis and attempted to measure which type of halitosis projected which gas the most.

The study used a gas measurement protocol to see if halitosis odor sources could be separately detected without contamination. The research team gathered ninety volunteers who were divided into three groups. Each group had a different environment artificially provided in the mouth, nose and pulmonary alveoli. The first group correlated with Hydrogen sulphide. The second group correlated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as ammonia and sulphur dioxide; and the third group with hydrogen. Gas readings from each environment were taken and compared in nose, mouth, and alveolar breath prior to and after inclusion of the artificial environments.

The results of the study provided the conclusion that the research team was looking for. The different gas measurements provided clear indication that the source of halitosis could be individually quantified. Oral Hydrogen sulfide was found to contaminate mostly nasal air (2.8%) and alveolar air (5.0%). VOC’s such as ammonia and Sulphur dioxide gas were found to project primarily from alveolar air (2.06%) and oral air (4%). Alveolar hydrogen gas provided the strongest measurement, indicating its source of projection from nasal air (18.43%) and oral air (9.42%).

The current study requires further analysis to support the results. But the data provided indicates that the source of halitosis can be determined by measuring the level of gases in exhaled air. This research can become a reliable starting point for future analysis on treating halitosis and improving oral health. By pin-pointing the source of halitosis, new and effective treatments can be developed.

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