Are You Infected? The Answer Could Be in Your Breath
According to researchers, a breath test could be all it takes to determine whether you are infected. This new test could be used to give instant checks at emergency rooms and ICUs. It may be used to supplement or replace blood tests. It could also make a useful tool in everyday diagnosis to determine whether a person has a bacterial infection and should be prescribed antibiotics, hopefully reducing the times when people are prescribed antibiotics without cause and slowing the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.
How the Breath Test Works
We all know that bad breath may be a sign of bacterial infection in the mouth, such as gum disease or an infected tooth. This is because bacteria produce certain compounds as part of their respiration that we can smell. Although bacteria in our mouths are the only ones who generally produce compounds strong enough we can smell, all bacteria in the body produce trace amounts of various gasses. Combined with the chemicals produced by our body in response to an infection, these can be used to identify the presence of infection.
The key is highly sensitive chemical analysis originally developed to look at minute amounts (parts per trillion) of air pollution. This can detect the signature chemicals emitted by bacteria and your body’s response to it at very low levels, which researchers were able to correlate to inflammation levels in mice, and hope to be able to extrapolate to humans.
Our Body Is an Integrated System
This research is another reminder that our body exists as one unified system. An infection in your mouth is never just an infection in your mouth–it impacts your entire body, and the inflammation response in your gums should not be ignored. Gum and mouth infections increase the bacteria load in your body, and can contribute to problems in your overall health.
If you notice your gums are red, inflamed, or bleeding, or if you have chronic bad breath, we can help. Gum treatment can eliminate the sights and smells associated with periodontal disease and improve your overall health as well.