Have you ever wondered what makes your breath smell bad in the morning? Raghav Chawla finds out about halitosis
- By: Raghav Chawla
Also known as foetor oris, oral malodour, or simply bad breath, halitosis is a serious problem. It can be embarrassing, socially disabling, and even affect relationships. Moreover, it can be a first sign of systemic disease.
The problems caused by halitosis have been recognised for centuries. It appeared in the Jewish Talmud and was also discussed by ancient Greek and Roman writers. The prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, is said to have thrown a congregant out of the mosque for having a smell of garlic in his breath. In more recent times, it is Joseph Tonzetich of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, who has (among others) led some pioneering work in this area of research. His findings have appreciably advanced our current understanding of the problem.1
Oral malodour is extremely widespread, affecting at least half of the general population.2 It is particularly common after sleep--“morning breath”--and between meals, presumably