Mild halitosis usually results from anaerobic bacteria breeding in shallow cavities in the gums or teeth. The bugs release foul-smelling gases such as hydrogen sulphide. Routine dental treatment, regular brushing and mouthwashes usually solve this problem.
But there are more persistent cases and Yehuda Finkelstein of the Meir Hospital at the Sapir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel, has found that the tonsils are often to blame. Tonsils have deep airless crypts and grooves that make perfect breeding grounds for anaerobic bacteria. "It's the ideal place for them," he says.
Finkelstein has successfully treated the condition using a laser procedure lasting just 15 minutes. The laser vaporises infected tissue and seals the crypts by creating scar tissue that bacteria cannot colonise. More than half of a group of 53 patients were cured in one session, while the others were cured after either two or three treatments.
Richard Price, a consumer adviser to the American Dental Association, says that the procedure could be useful as a last resort, but that tonsils only cause up to 6 per cent of halitosis cases. "Try conventional treatment first," he says. "Scraping the tongue and using mouthwash seems to work for most people."
MEDICA.de; Source: New Scientist