Bad Breath Battle

Iranian diplomats Abbas Hatami Kasavand, foreground, and Mohsen Bagheri, are welcomed upon their arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, July 12, 2009. Five Iranian officials who were held in Iraq for more than two years by U.S. forces on suspicion of aiding local Shiite militants returned to Iran Sunday, where their return was hailed as a victory for Iran. AP Photo/Yalda Moayyeri
AP Photo/Yalda Moayyeri
Bad breath was once something people only whispered about. Now, it is a multimillion dollar commercial industry.

America is awash in breath freshening products. However, many people need more than a mint or swig of mouthwash to keep bad breath at bay. The Early Show's Correspondent Gretchen Carlson reports that there is help for an estimated 85 million Americans who are affected by bad breath — regardless of age, weight, or sex.

"We went to the men's room and he told me that I had a breath problem. He said, 'I'm a good friend, that's why I'm telling you,'" said Breath Clinic Patient Pete Thompson.

At the Richter Center in Philadelphia, one of a growing number of breath disorder clinics in this country, patients like Thompson can kiss halitosis goodbye forever.

"The mouth is the seat of knowledge and the seat of one's personality," said Jon Richter of the DDS. "And if that part of your personality is objectionable to other people," then something needs to be done.

Contrary to what many people think, bad breath does not come from your stomach. It's caused by a type of bacteria that live on the soft tissues of the mouth, where they produce sulfur gasses that smell like rotten eggs.

Patients undergo three tests to determine if the bacteria are present. In the first step, patients breathe into a machine called a halimater that measures the sulfur compounds. Next is the sniff test and finally swabbing the back of the mouth.

The swab tests for the presence of bacteria that causes bad breath. If the container turns a yellowish brown, it means bad breath is present.

It is up to patients like Thompson to keep the odor out. He was sent home with a kit that includes a chlorine dioxide rinse that kills the bacteria. The kit also includes a tongue scraper that can be found at any drug store. The scraper is placed at the back of the mouth and it gently scrapes over the tongue to remove offending bacteria.

The initial treatment costs about $600 and is not covered by health insurance. Patients then have to pay for the monthly chlorine dioxide refills.


There are a number of possible causes of halitosis. Below is a list of some possible causes.


  • Sinus infections & abnormal sinus anatomies, post nasal drainage (drips)
  • Tonsilar infections or tonsiloliths
  • Lung diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Blood disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Gallbladder dysfunction
  • Menstruation
  • Carcinomas
  • Certain foods


  • Extensive dental decay
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Oral infections or abscesses
  • Oral cancers
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth condition). Many medications can contribute to a condition of xerostomia.
  • Oral conditions resulting from post-nasal drips or discharges
  • Allergy conditions
  • A proliferation of specific types of gram (-) anaerobic bacteria.

Source: Center For Breath Treatment