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New bacteria associated with bad breath identified

Employing an advanced DNA sequencing technique, investigators from the State University of New York at Buffalo have identified several previously unknown bacteria related to chronic halitosis - also known as bad breath - that may offer new avenues for treatment of the affliction.

Past research into halitosis has used tongue scrapings cultivated in the laboratory to identify oral bacteria that produce the volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath, UB investigators said. Current therapies for halitosis focus on reducing the number of these bacteria in the mouth, but all bacteria that can play a role in halitosis are not known.

For their study, the UB investigators employed a new identification method - called universal PCR -to identify more oral bacteria that may be implicated in halitosis.

Tongue scrapings from six adults with persistent halitosis were analyzed using both bacterial cultures and universal PCR. While the cultures revealed significant proportions of six bacteria previously implicated in halitosis, they also contained bacteria whose species could not be identified, the UB investigators said.

In contrast, the universal PCR analysis identified the unknown species as well as four others not previously associated with halitosis.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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