Here’s Where Your Bad Breath Is Actually Coming From

2 Apr

Got a case of bad breath? You’re not alone.

An estimated 65 percent of Americans suffer from halitosis, or bad breath, according to the Washtenaw District Dental Society. But where does it come from?

According to a TED-Ed video narrated by professor and bad breath researcher Mel Rosenberg, all comes down to the activity of bacteria in the mouth.

“Bacteria in your mouth feed off of mucus, food remnants and dead tissue cells. In order to absorb nutrients through their cell membranes they must break down the organic matter into much smaller molecules,” Rosenberg said. “For example, they’ll break proteins into their component amino acids and then break those down even further into various compounds. Some of the foul-smelling byproducts of these reactions, such as hydrogen sulfide and cadaverine, escape into the air.”

Are you a victim? Make sure you have good oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice per day, flossing and making regular trips to your dentist.

New York City dentist Jennifer Jablow says gum may help in certain cases.

“One of my favorite ingredients to prevent dry mouth [which can cause bad breath] is xylitol,” Jablow said in an article for “It’s a sugar substitute found in many gums and dental products that keeps bacteria at bay and helps with saliva flow.”

We’ll let you go brush your teeth now.