Since the dawning of time, humans have been very aware of the smelly condition of bad breath, or halitosis. Mentions of it have been found in the Jewish Talmud and discussed by Ancient Greek and Roman writers.
It is even said that the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had a congregant expelled from the mosque for having the smell of garlic on his breath.
People from every walk of life have been searching for the cure-all for bad personal odors. In Brazil, it is common to chew cinnamon. In Italy, they chew parsley. In Thailand, guava peel leaves a refreshing taste and eliminates foul smells. In Iraq, cloves are used; in Eastern Asia, aniseed.
What Causes Halitosis?
Halitosis is created by the release of volatile sulfur into the atmosphere when you exhale. These compounds contain sulfur and include hydrogen sulfide and methyl marcaptan.
Truth be told, most mints and gums do nothing more than mask the offensive odor. These provide only temporary solutions. In order to get rid of bad breath, its true cause must be established. The most common cause of bad breath is food that remains in the mouth between brushings. This food gets caught in between teeth and begins to rot, releasing offending odor when exhaled. This is why proper oral hygiene is so important, including daily flossing and brushing.
Only your dentist can determine whether halitosis is the result of bad oral habits or something more serious. Causes of bad breath include a wide array of conditions, medically and from personal habits. Typically, the types of foods consumed: garlic, onions, cheese and dairy will leave an unpleasant odor. During the digestion process these foods release offensive gases. These gases can be released for up to 24 hours after initial consumption.