Halitosis is a common problem many people have. Researchers discovered that certain elements in the mouth, at times, cause bad breath to occur. They use some manner of measuring the elements in the breath to analyze these elements. It is important to know the severity of halitosis for developing more effective treatments for it. Many techniques exist for this and we will look at some of them below.
Techniques for Measuring Halitosis
Odors are not that easy to measure. Certain compounds in the breath show up during tests. Hydrogen sulphide, methyl mecaptan and dmethyl sulphide known as VSCs or volatile sulfur compounds are some of the most prominent ones. The VSCs make breath quite foul smelling. These and other compounds are what researchers look for while measuring how severe malodor is. Let’s look at some of the ways they evaluate bad breath.
- A gas chromatograph measures compounds in various samples collected by researchers. This device precisely measures compounds in the samples to show the level of odor present. Researchers prefer this device to other ones used, because they identify the compounds and their levels easily in a person’s breath. This machine downside is that it takes specific training to know how to use it. It takes a certain amount of time to go through the process with this machine and it is not portable. This device is quite pricy to buy. The gas chromatograph sets the standard for analyzing halitosis.
- A BANA test gauges the bacteria in the mouth. Gum disease causes these bacteria. They cause quite a bad odor to the breath. BANA stands for benzoyl-D, L-arginine- naphthylamide and an enzyme created by the bacteria breaks it down. A BANA test on a person’s saliva in the lab detects this compound. Gum disease is a major cause for bad breath.
- Halimeters are portable enough for use by even medical professionals along with researchers to measure people’s halitosis. These devices do an accurate job at measuring the VSCs mentioned earlier. They do not pick up the other compounds that cause bad breath. Another advantage of these devices is that there is no training required to learn how to operate them and they measure the VSCs quickly. It is fairly inexpensively compared to the gas chromatograph.
- Some researchers simply use their own noses to evaluate odors in the breath. This is called organoleptic testing. It is not accurate for choosing each of the various elements contained, and a person’s cologne or other outside elements influences results. In addition, it cannot accurately set a degree of severity, because each researcher evaluates a bit differently.
- Chemiluminescence is more sensitive at identifying VSCs than the Halimeters are. A sample of breath with the sulfur compound as in the VSCs in placed with mercury causes the fluorescence reaction. This test measures even the slightest level of sulfur compounds.
A person suffering from halitosis needs the severity of it measured to get proper treatment. You need to ask your dentist for further advice on how to get measured, if you are one of these people. The people around you will appreciate the fact that you correct this smelly problem. The dentist or other health professional in analyzing your breath may uncover the real cause for it helping you eliminate all together. A life free from halitosis will smell nicer for all involved.
About the Author:
James Alban is the author of many health articles. In-depth information on halitosis or other health issues are on his website.