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Hidden Cause of Bad Breath Recently Discovered

According to a study published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology the ulcer causing bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) may also contribute to bad breath.

H pylori drill into your stomach lining where they can cause a host of serious problems. The bacteria have been associated with chronic inflammation, stomach cancer and are the most common cause of stomach ulcers in the world.

Scientists recently discovered that H. pylori can also live and colonize in the human mouth. This realization prompted Japanese researchers from Fukuoka Dental College in Japan to test patients complaining of bad breath for H pylori.

The researchers tested 326 patients (251 with bad breath) and 21 of them came up positive for H pylori in the mouth. They also found that 16% of patients with gum disease had the bacteria present in their mouths.

Although a direct link between H. pylori and bad breath wasn't obvious in this study, researchers note that the bacteria is strongly associated with gum disease, which almost always results in halitosis (the scientific name for bad breath).

These findings may serve as a first step in identifying a potential connection between the presence of H. pylori in the mouth and the development of digestive problems related to H pylori in the stomach.

Recent studies have shown cranberry and probiotics to be powerful weapons against H Pylori bacteria, especially when taken together. In fact, a study published in the May 2008 issue of the journal Nutrition found that taken together, the two may reduce H pylori levels by 23%.
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