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有关口臭传言的几个真相

更新时间:2017-10-21 11:04:54 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The biggest myths about bad breath
有关口臭传言的几个真相

Many years ago, soon after I’d started working in radio, I arrived at the newsroom to be given my assignment for the day. I was asked to visit a clinic treating bad breath where I was to get my own breath tested and interview the doctor.

多年前当我刚刚在电台入职不久,我接到了一个采访任务,我必须去采访一个专门治疗口臭的诊所。在那里,我要先接受口臭测试,然后再采访医生。

On the way there I did wonder whether this was all a ruse and whether there was something my colleagues were too afraid to tell me. Luckily I was fine, but bad breath is common and we’re not helped by some of the myths surrounding it.

在去诊所的路上,我心里有点忐忑不安。是否有同事们不愿告诉我什么不好的事情?幸好我检查后一切正常。但是,口臭仍然是一个容易被传言所误导,而普遍存在的问题。

MYTH: YOU CAN TELL IF YOU HAVE BAD BREATH BY BREATHING INTO YOUR CUPPED HANDS

传言1:聚拢双手朝手心哈气,再闻手心的气味,你就能知道自己是否有口臭。

The problem with this method is that breathing into your hands doesn’t propel breath out from the back of your mouth in the same way that happens when you talk. So when you breathe into your hand you might miss out on the smells from the gases produced at the back of your tongue, the main place where bad breath originates.

这种方法的问题在于,和说话不同,这时口腔后部的气味不会留在手心上。因此你闻手心气味的时候不会闻到你舌头后部的气味,而这里正是大部分口臭气味的来源。

Doctors have three methods for testing for bad breath. They can assess it themselves by sniffing one of the following: the patient’s breath just 5cm (2in) from the nose of the doctor, the contents of a spoon which has been scraped across the top of the tongue, unwaxed floss which has been passed between the back teeth or a petri dish containing the patient’s saliva that’s been left in an incubator at 37C (99F) for five minutes.

医生可以通过闻嗅以下三种气味判断患者是否有口臭。第一,患者在距离医生鼻子5厘米处呼吸时的气味;第二,刮过患者舌头上表面的勺子的气味,第三,在臼齿间刮过的无蜡牙线,或者在370摄氏度恒温箱中保存了5分钟的,培养了病人唾液培养皿的气味。

There are also small monitors available which can detect certain gases, but the limitation here is that it only includes some gases and not others. Finally ‘gas chromatography’ – a technique to separate complex mixtures of gases – can measure the quantity of sulphur in the air, but involves specialised equipment that you won’t find in many doctors’ offices.

现在已经出现了探测特定气体的小型传感器,但是问题在于这种传感器无法探测多种气体。另外,可以使用一种能将复杂的混合气体分离的方法——气体层析法来空气中硫的含量,但是这种方法要用到一般诊所所不具备的专业设备。

Not everyone who thinks they have bad breath, does. They misinterpret people stepping back or turning away when in real cases of halitosis this isn’t the way people tend to react. One study put this proportion at 27%.

很多认为自己有口臭的人,其实并没有口臭。他们会误解人们退后或转身是因为他们有口臭,真实情况是只有为数不多的人面对口臭有如此反应。一项研究表明只有27%的遇见口臭会做出退后或转身的反应。

There is no agreement on what proportion of the whole population does actually have halitosis, with rates varying from 22 to 50%.

有口臭的人占人群中的比例介于22-50%之间,但没有准确数据。

MYTH: IF YOU HAVE BAD BREATH YOU PROBABLY HAVE AN UNDERLYING ILLNESS

传言2:口臭意味着身体存在疾病

Most of the bad smell comes from volatile sulphur compounds, gases with distinctive odours. Hydrogen sulphide, with its classic rotten eggs smell is one of the main offenders, but even worse is a substance called ethyl mercaptan which tends to be described as smelling of decomposing cabbage. It’s the compound which makes some people’s urine particularly pungent after they’ve eaten asparagus.

大多数口臭来自具有独特恶臭的物质——挥发性硫化物。具有臭鸡蛋气味的硫化氢是口臭的主要来源,臭味更浓的是被描述为腐烂白菜味道的乙硫醇。有些人吃了芦笋后尿液变得格外刺鼻就是这种物质在作祟。

These compounds are given off when food and bacteria accumulate in the furrows at the back of the tongue. The good news is that this can be temporary, as a result of eating garlic or raw onions, drinking coffee or smoking cigarettes. But in three quarters of cases some kind of dental problem is found alongside the halitosis. The patients might have gums which are swollen, sore or infected or be suffering from a coating on the tongue.

舌头后半部的沟壑中残留食物残渣和细菌后就会散发上述物质。幸好,这种口臭时暂时的,例如吃了大蒜或洋葱、喝咖啡或吸烟之后的口臭。但在四分之三的情况下,口臭都伴随有各类牙齿问题。患者要么牙龈肿胀、疼痛、感染,要么舌苔过厚。

It is true that in a small percentage of cases bad breath is caused by a problem elsewhere in the body such as the ear, nose and throat, kidneys, lungs or intestines, but when this does happen it’s unusual for halitosis to be the only symptom.

在很少情况下,口臭是由身体其他部位,例如耳部、鼻部、咽喉、肾脏、肺脏或肠胃出现病症引起。但在此情况下,患者会出现除口臭之外的其他症状。

MYTH: MOUTHWASH ALWAYS GETS RID OF BAD BREATH

传言3:口腔清洁剂一定能够消除口臭

The first thing many people do if they suspect they have bad breath is to reach for the mouthwash. The mint or clove flavouring does of course, disguise the smell for a short time, and many mouthwashes also contain antiseptic. The idea is to eliminate the bacteria that leads to foul-smelling compounds. For a time this can work. But there has been some debate concerning containing alcohol and whether it does or doesn’t exacerbate dehydration. A very dry mouth can cause breath to smell worse.

许多人知道自己有口臭之后的第一件事是去买口腔清洁剂(漱口药水)。当然,薄荷或丁香能够暂时祛除口腔异味,有些口腔清洁剂还含有杀菌剂,从而杀灭会产生恶臭化合物的细菌。它可能会有作用,但是有人担心这些口腔清洁剂含有酒精,会造成口腔脱水。干燥的口腔会使口臭更为严重。

Drinking more water during the day can help, both by rinsing away food and preventing dryness in the mouth.

白天多喝水可以除去食物残渣,并防止口腔干燥,有助于抑制口臭。

The UK health research body Cochrane is currently assembling a review of the scientific literature on interventions for bad breath. In their previous review of mouthwashes in 2008, the five best trials showed that if they contained anti-bacterials such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorine dioxide or zinc, they could reduce unpleasant smells to an extent. But the authors did call for more trials to be done.  Hopefully this next review will be able to give more information about which mouthwashes to choose.

英国卫生研究机构Cochrane目前正在组织对口臭治疗相关论文进行整理。其2008年发布的口腔清洁剂报告表明,5个最好的试验结果显示,含有洗必泰、西吡氯铵、二氧化氯、锌等抗菌成分的口腔清洁剂能够在某种程度上抑制口臭。但作者仍然呼吁进行更多临床试验。希望下一篇报告能够就如何选择口腔清洁剂提供更多信息。

The alternative is to scrape your tongue with a special tongue cleaner. This method is also under assessment in the newest Cochrane review. Their last report found just two small trials looking at this method. They showed it can work, but that the effect is short-lived. They also highlight the risk of damaging the tongue by pressing too hard and to ensure that if you want to use a toothbrush to clean your tongue, you make sure that it’s a soft one.

另一个方法是使用特殊舌头清洁器。Cochrane最新报告也对这一方法进行了评估,并且只发现了两宗小规模试验。试验表明,这种方法虽然有效,但其效果却无法持久,同时如果用力过度有可能破坏舌头组织。你如果用牙刷来清洁舌面的话,一定要用软毛牙刷。

MYTH: BACTERIA IN THE MOUTH IS A BAD THING

传言4:口腔内的细菌一定不干好事

Every individual has a slightly different community of between 100-200 microbes in their mouth. As we are coming to appreciate the human microbiome and the positive role that the millions of bacteria present in our bodies can play, instead of eliminating bacteria from the mouth altogether, scientists are trying to work out how to get the right combination, by targeting specific bacteria for elimination or using probiotics to encourage certain bacteria in the mouth.

每个人的口腔中都生活着由100-200种细菌组成的微生物群落。现在,人们已经开始认识到由千百万微生物组成的人体微生物群系对人体的益处,不再简单地把口腔内的细菌不分青红皂白地杀掉,而是通过消除有害微生物,并使用益生素促进有益微生物的生长而建设正确的微生物组合。

Phase I and II trials have already been conducted into killing the bacteria most often implicated in tooth decay. The substance has been trialled as a gel applied in a clinic and next it will be tested as a varnish, again applied in a clinic, but accompanied by strips which people can take home and apply to their teeth as a follow-up treatment. This opens up the possibility in the future for using similar methods to target the bacteria most often implicated in bad breath.

一期和二期临床试验已经表明,口腔内的有益菌遭到杀灭是导致龋齿的主要原因。在不同试验中分别使用了凝胶和衬剂,同时患者将牙贴带回家贴在牙齿上作为后续治疗。同样的试验在未来也可用于发现导致口臭的细菌。

It’s early days, so for now the medical advice is to brush and floss your teeth carefully, to drink plenty of water, not to smoke, to eat a balanced diet and to see your dentist about bad breath in case you have early signs of gum disease.

当你出现了牙龈疾病的早期征兆,医生会建议你认真刷牙、使用牙线洁齿、保持充足饮水、戒烟、保持饮食均衡,并去医院看牙医。

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