Most people worry about having bad breath, which also known as halitosis, as shown by the huge sales of breath fresheners. However, it is not easy to tell whether you have it or not. There is actually a psychological condition called delusion of halitosis or halitophobia, in which people have an unshakeable belief that their breath smells, although in fact it does not. Their lives are totally dominated by their 'bad breath' and they are not amenable to reason.
Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, February 12th 2010
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Many chemicals cause the smell in bad breath including hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan and putrescine.
Garlic rubbed into the soles of the feet can be detected later in the breath
Women clean their teeth more often than men - 76% of women brush their teeth at least once a day, but only 58% of men do (British Dental Association)
Politicians, lawyers, judges and teachers have the worst breath - they talk a lot, so their mouths dry out (Professor M Rosenberg)
Shakespeare mentions breath smell - sweet or stinking - more than 100 times. In his day, most people had bad breath (Professor M Rosenberg)