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Bad Breath (halitosis) Research

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Several years ago, a man of about 60 asked me whether masturbation could result in bad breath. I told him that I didn't see an obvious connection, and asked him where he came up with this idea. He told me that in his youth, he had been warned that masturbation would eventually give him bad breath. Now, some forty-five years later, he was convinced that judgment day was at hand, or perhaps, at mouth.

I remained perplexed about this until recently, when my colleague Shmuel Orenbuch prepared a list of writings on bad breath appearing in the Jewish liturgical literature. According to the Rambam, a great Jewish sage and rabbi of the middle ages, excessive evacuation of sperm causes one's strength to grow weak, one's eyesight to grow dim, and bad breath to appear. Again, no research has been done to date to substantiate this premise.