London, May 11 : Your listener might not complain about it but it certainly can drive him or her away from you, and in worse circumstances - bad breath can become the sole reason why people repel from you. Well, help is it at hand, for Glasgow researchers have found families of bacteria that contribute to the age-old problem of bad breath.
The named and shamed groups of bacteria have the scientific names Prevotella melaninogenica and Prevotella pallens.
Experts on the trail of a cure for halitosis (bad breath) have found the bugs in the back of people's mouths by using new techniques for gathering and analyzing bacteria.
The researchers also believe they have isolated the families of bug responsible for creating bad breath and say the next step will be finding a way to stop the bacteria from producing bad odours.
The three-year study was carried out by a team of experts at Glasgow University Dental School.
In the research, the team analyzed the bacteria on the tongues of 20 halitosis sufferers, using new techniques, which can examine traces of bacteria DNA.
The study found 39 new kinds of bacteria around the back of the tongue alone, adding to the 700 strains already known about. The new kinds of bacteria have been classified according to what kinds of known bacteria they are most similar to.
The experts found that individuals with bad breath had more of the previously unidentified bacteria than those without halitosis. They also found a link between two known families of bacteria and odours in the mouth.
"What we have done here is work out which families of bacteria seem to be responsible for bad breath. The key now is to find out how to neutralize the reactions which cause the nasty smelly compounds," The Scotsman quoted Dr Marcello Riggio, an expert in microbiology at the dental school, as saying.
"Most mouthwashes don't actually cure bad breath, they just mask the smell with something else. There are washes which contain strong antiseptics, which kill bacteria, but you can't use them for long periods of time," Riggo said.
Image consultant Irene Milner, of Edinburgh-based Lifestyle Matters, said: "It would be wonderful news if they could make real progress on a remedy for bad breath. It does make a big difference to the impression you make on people. You have one and a half minutes to make that impression and bad breath is a real turn-off."