For those who suffer from extra oral halitosis, also known as bad breath, and can’t seem to pinpoint the reason why, a study coming out of the Netherlands might be able to shed some light. The research team’s findings revealed bad breath could stem from a genetic mutation that is linked to a metabolism error.
While about half of those living in the United States currently suffer from bad breath, for many the reason behind halitosis is not known. Some conditions within the sinuses, nose, or esophagus can cause bad breath, in other cases, it can even be blood borne.
In the past, researchers have revealed that methanethiol, a sulfur compound emanating a terrible odor can cause this the condition, as the substance is produced in large numbers within the intestines and comes from food. At that point in time, the researchers believed the protein that gets rid of methanethiol was not working appropriately within the participants involved in the study. The team in this previous study was ‘stuck’ as they could not find a lead within the participant’s metabolism around the process where the body could counteract the substance.
In this recent study, the research team worked to look at the culprit of a metabolism error linked to bad breath.
Understanding that certain bacteria can assist with metabolizing sulfur compounds, the study team looked into the bacteria and discovered a human protein linked to transforming methanethiol into other compounds.
Known as selenium-binding protein 1, the human protein encodes as SELENBP1. The research team reviewed the gene within five human participants that deal with chronic bad breath and discovered that each patient had a mutation of this. To boot, each individual had enhanced levels of methanethiol in their blood.
Further within their research, the team used genetically-engineered mice. The SELENBP1 gene was knocked out of the animals, and this resulted in enhanced levels of methanethiol in their blood and additional sulfur compounds that were foul-smelling. While the researchers didn’t ‘smell’ the rodents’ mouths, they did measure the odor-forming chemicals within their blood and detected high amounts, which matched those that were found in human participants.
To conclude the study, Medical News Today reveals the author noted these SELENBP1 mutations caused the halitosis, which theoretically could be an inborn error caused via metabolism, which might be able to be treated via dietary changes.
For some, this could be life-changing news; especially those who follow a strict oral hygiene regime, but still suffer from yucky breath.