As if ladies didn’t have enough to worry about, now there’s this. According to scientists in Brazil, being on your period can give you halitosis. And not only that, but even before you start menstruating, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can lead to bad breath.
The problem isn’t that the monthly visit changes your oral health routine. Instead, having one’s period causes hormonal changes that can lead to oral odor.
Don’t kill the messenger
In the human body, hormones rule your every urge, regardless of your gender. Whether you’re hungry, tired, aroused, scared, moody or satisfied, hormones are the molecular messengers that are helping make it happen. In fact, hormones help control nearly every major body function, including metabolism, immunity, cell turnover and reproduction.
They also evidently cause bad breath. Here’s how.
As cellular signals, hormones stimulate various cellular responses. Some of these can be pleasant, like when serotonin makes you feel more relaxed. However, others are less welcome. For instance, the messenger hormones that initiate menstruation can cause cramping, irritability and – according to the study – halitosis.
Dry mouth, too
For their investigation, researchers from the University of Campinas in Piracicaba, Brazil, took periodic measurements of the breath odor levels of both women and men. To do so, they gauged the levels of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) in healthy participants’ mouths. (These molecules give oral odor its stinky scent.)
Then, over several months, the team monitored changes in breath levels. Researchers found that women’s halitosis tended to increase before and during their period. In fact, over the course of menstruation, the average female breath odor contained about 10 parts per billion more VSCs than did that of the male counterparts.
The team noted that while oral bacteria levels were the same across both genders, women experienced lower levels of saliva during menstruation, which may account for their bad breath.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution for this problem: rinsing twice per day with an alcohol-free mouth rinse (as all TheraBreath oral rinses are) or sucking on specialty mouth-wetting lozenges (like TheraBreath’s Mouth Wetting Lozenges).