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Cancer, stomach ulcer bacteria linked to bad breath

Bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and cancer also could cause bad breath, according to research published in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Researchers at Fukuoka Dental College, Japan, conducted a study to evaluate the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the saliva of people who complain of having halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath. H. pylori can cause stomach ulcers and is responsible for a large proportion of gastric cancers.

Researchers obtained samples from 326 people, 251 with halitosis and 75 without halitosis. They extracted DNA from the samples and evaluated the presence of H. pylori.

They detected H. pylori in 21 of the 326 samples. In the people with H. pylori, the concentration of a bad breath gas and the level of oral disease were significantly higher than in those without H. pylori.

Researchers also detected H. pylori in 16 of 102 people with periodontal disease, which, they wrote, suggests that progression of periodontal disease and inflammation may favor colonization by H. pylori, and that H. pylori infection may be associated indirectly with halitosis after periodontal disease.

"Although the presence of H. pylori in the mouth does not directly cause bad breath, it is associated with periodontal disease, which does cause bad breath," said Dr. Nao Suzuki, lead author of the study. "We now need to look into the relationship between H. pylori in the mouth and in the stomach. We hope to discover the role of the mouth in transmitting H. pylori stomach infections in the near future."

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