It’s easy to rely on your dentist or dental hygienist to recognize when your breath stinks. After all, you’d think they’d be the experts; the people who can tell you about it honestly, explain where it comes from and make recommendations on eliminating it. But a new survey has found that many dental students know next to nothing about bad breath.
This is why it’s best to see a dentist and a breath specialist, who can focus on your oral odor and point you to some specialty breath fresheners that will actually treat the problem.
Where does bad breath come from?
You might think that a pop quiz over the origins and treatments of halitosis would be a piece of cake, right? But evidently, it’s not – for laypersons or dentistry students. That’s one of the conclusions reached by the administrators of a survey, whose results appeared in the Portuguese Journal of Stomatology, Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery.
To be fair, researchers asked about tough subjects like organoleptic scores and gram-negative microorganisms, but they also included easy questions, like:
- Which region of the body does bad breath usually come from? Only 22 percent of the dozens of respondents said the tongue, which is the correct answer. More than 40 percent said the stomach!
- Which molecules are primarily responsible for the smell of bad breath? One in four correctly indicated volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). More than half had no idea.
- What active compounds in a specialty breath freshening mouthwash would you recommend for neutralizing VSCs? Just one in five correctly answered, pointing to chlorhexidine. Others said things like mint, alcohol (no!) or even I don’t know.
Clearly, breath research is its own field, one that dentists may not necessarily excel in. And anyway, they’re kind of busy, what with all the tooth decay, periodontal disease and plaque buildup they have to deal with.
So if you want to know where your bad breath comes from and which specialty products to use, head for your local breath clinic.