10/10/2011 04:33 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2011

Advice and Explanations of Bad Breath From Experts

There are constantly new developments in the world of oral care and, more specifically, bad breath. Here are a few new studies that are worth mentioning in the fight to understand and banish bad breath.

Certain types of bad breath (commonly known as situational bad breath) can be relieved with a good teeth brushing, rinsing and flossing. Situational bad breath can refer to morning breath or whatever makes your breath a little rank after eating and can often be helped with gum or mints if you can't make time to brush. While this information is nothing new, Dr. Guri Dhaliwal shared with the San Ramon Patch that chronic bad breath can be caused by more serious problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

So how do you stop the more serious dental issues before chronic halitosis rears its ugly head? The answer is tried and true: Pay strong attention to your oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. Dr. Dhaliwal also noted that plaque, dry mouth and post-nasal drip are main culprits of chronic bad breath.

While you are doing your daily oral hygiene routine, don't forget to pay attention to your tongue too. A team of scientists from Canada and Japan has published a study in the International Dental Journal . This group has compared the effectives of tongue-brushing, mouth-rinsing and gum-chewing on oral odor. They measured each treatment with a halimeter -- a device that measures the levels of VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds) on one's breath.

What did they find? The team found that rinsing with chlorhexidine (an antiseptic) was fair in reducing bad breath. However, the scientists said that proper oral hygiene such as flossing and brushing should be combined with this method. Scientists also found that chewing gum (whether sugarless or not) did not reduce the amount of VSCs in one's mouth. In fact, chewing most types of gums regularly can give microorganisms in the mouth more food to thrive, resulting in more VSCs.

What did the team find as the best solution? Tongue-brushing. They recommend that this be done from back to front to get the highest amount of microbes removed. What would make this even more effective? Coating the tongue scraper with a specialty breath-freshening product. It will not only help eliminate the nasty bad breath causing bugs, but also penetrate deep below the tongue's surface for an even more thorough cleaning.

For dental experts, bad breath can mean an indication of a more serious illness or condition. An article published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene states that 90 percent of bad breath comes directly from one's mouth -- not one's lungs or stomach. This leads dental hygienists to look for signs of tooth decay or gum disease when presented with a case of halitosis. At first, bad breath can be a result of diet. Savory, fatty and smelly foods such as meat, dairy, garlic and onion can be the culprits. However, with time, a foul oral odor can be attributed more to an oral disease rather than leftover food particles. Gingivitis, thrush, decay and other forms of periodontal disease can give off nasty smells.

This new study indicates the worse the smell, the worse the condition could be. This new study cautions dental experts to pay attention to bad breath as a sign that more severe health problems could be the cause. The best thing to keep oral odor away is to combine regular visits to the dentist with proper oral hygiene on a daily basis with products that will give you the maximum benefit of both a healthy oral cavity and fresh breath.

It may seem like a simple process to get garlic breath: You eat garlic, and you get breath that smells like it. However, a group of researchers at the University of Minnesota decided to explain what causes this specific type of bad breath. The group published their findings in the American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. So what is to be blamed for garlic breath? Mostly allyl methyl sulfide, which is a volatile sulfur compound (VSC). The team had participants eat six grams of raw garlic and then tested not only for this VSC but others as well, including allyl mercaptan, methanethiol, allyl methyl disulfide and allyl disulfide.

The scientists tried to determine if the smell of garlic comes from the mouth or the stomach. Within three hours of testing, the group concluded with the help of readings from the halimeter that most of the garlic breath comes from the oral cavity. Why does garlic breath last for hours? The allyl methyl sulfide and its related molecules combine with saliva and are exhaled for hours after consumption. As oral microbes feed on the food particles remaining in the mouth, other VSCs take over to produce even more bad breath. Your best bet to stopping garlic breath is to clean your mouth thoroughly right after your meal.

Oral care issues can start from something as simple as eating garlic or not cleaning your tongue thoroughly. Make sure to maintain a healthy oral care regimen before other problems arise, such as gum disease and loss of teeth. Quick and effective dental care is paramount to keeping your breath fresh and your entire mouth healthy.