Bad breath or halitosis refers to a mouth condition we all have to deal with from time to time. Halitosis consists of an unpleasant swell which can originate from the mouth, throat or digestive system. It is a common disorder and can range from mild, stale smelling breath to foul, fetid breath which usually accompanies some type of mouth and gum diseases. Acidy breath may indicate a diabetic condition.
Causes of bad breath
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, including poor dental hygiene, food lodged between the teeth, dentures, gum disease, tooth decay, smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol or drinking coffee (acidic). And obviously, bad breath can be the result of eating certain foods like onions, garlic, beer, fish, pastrami, sharp cheeses or anchovies.
Other causes of bad breath are fasting, untreated diabetes (acidosis), the presence of sinusitis, (mouth breathing), sore throats or other conditions that cause the tongue to become coated can cause offensive breath.
More uncommon causes of bad breath include certain lung disorders such as bronchiectasis, some gastrointestinal disorders, tuberculosis, and syphilis.
There is also some speculation that intestinal gases from improper elimination can also cause bad breath. Taking certain drugs, such as some antihistamines, some hormonal therapies, lithium and penicillamine may create some degree of halitosis. Being very hungry or going without foods for a long period of time can induce a dry mouth and ultimately cause stale breath.
In children, bad breath can be the result of diseases such as trench mouth, or throat infections, especially chronically infected tonsils. Occasionally, a small child may insert a foreign object in the nose (such as a tissue, cotton ball, etc.) which remains lodged there. A white or yellow discharge from the nose usually accompanies the bad breath in these situations.
Persistent, unexplained bad breath may be a symptom of a more serious condition and should be checked by your physician. In addition a badly coated tongue that docs not improve after brushing or using mouthwash can indicate a disease condition.
Your doctor will want to rule out disease conditions that may cause bad breath. Your mouth, throat and nose will be carefully inspected. A culture may be needed if a sore throat or mouth sores are present. Most people live with common bad breath and rarely make a special trip to the doctor for treatment. Over-the-counter mints, sprays, and mouth-washes offer only temporary relief.
Dietary Guidelines to stop bad breath
- Some health care professionals believe that impaired digestion and faulty elimination can contribute to bad breath. This notion is based on the idea that undigested food particles give off toxic gases, which can come back up into the mouth area.
- It has also been speculated that eating a diet high in fats can contribute to halitosis. Avoid fatty dairy products and cured meats. Naturally, eating sharp pungent cheeses may cause problems.
- Drinking fresh lemon water every day helps to chase away stale breath and chewing on whole cloves or fresh parsley supplies the mouth with natural deodorizers.
- Eating raw vegetables or fruits such as apples or carrots also helps to keep the mouth clean in between brushings. Oranges and other citrus fruits also help combat a dry mouth.
- Some medication can make your mouth extremely dry. Sucking on candy can help to stimulate saliva flow.
Recommended Nutritional Supplements
Something as simple as brushing after every meal can help eliminate most of our bad breath problems. Foods that coat our mouths like whole milk, cream, cheeses etc. can predispose us to bad breath, along with spices like garlic or onions. Again, the value of eating fresh, raw foods emerges for this ailment. Raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables help to keep the mouth clean and the gums healthy.
Helps keep the lower bowels functioning well and can reduce the formation of gases. Suggested Dosage: Take as directed using guaranteed bacterial count products with bifidobacteria.
Natural chlorophyll is an excellent mouth freshener and odor absorbent. Suggested Usage: Use both a drink and a mouthwash according to specified instructions taking two tablespoons of liquid chlorophyll with water or juice between meals can help prevent bad breath.
VITAMINS A, C, E, AND B COMPLEX
Help the body to eliminate toxins. The ascorbic acid of vitamin C and the properties of bioflavonoids help to reduce the risk of bleeding gums. Suggested Dosage: 5,000 mg per day.
Some cases of bad breath are caused by a zinc deficiency. Suggested Dosage: Take as directed. Use picolinate products.
ALOE VERA GEL : Helps clean the digestive tract and contributes to the healing of any mouth sore that may be present. Suggested Dosage: Take internally only as directed as aloe has a laxative effect and can cause gripping.
CLOVES, FENNEL OR ANISE: Sweetens the breath and helps with digestion. Suggested Dosage: Use as directed.
PARSEY : Destroys odor. Chewing on fresh parsley can help to eliminate garlic and onion breath. Suggested Dosage: Take as directed.
PEPPERMENT : Sweetens the breath and also promotes good digestion. Suggested Dosage: Can be taken in tea form or in more concentrated oils or extracts. Homemade gargles can be made with rosemary or peppermint oil. Use two drops to one cup of warm water.
MYRRH : Can be used as an effective mouthwash that helps heal mouth sores and sore throats. Suggested Dotage: Take as directed.
Home Care Suggestions
- Stop smoking.
- Use a mouthwash that contains zinc which combats certain odors more efficiently. Usually these are red in color.
- Use baking soda-based toothpastes or make your own paste with baking soda and water. There are toothpastes out now which have also added peroxide to their baking soda formulas.
- Chew on fresh parsley after eating strong spices or foods with garlic or onions.
New breath fresheners that work from the stomach have recently become available; the reviews are mixed. If you are keeping your teeth and gums clean, most had breath problems will not be serious.
- Get regular dental checkups to avoid gum disease and tooth decay.
- Carry a toothbrush with you and brush after each meat.
- Replace your toothbrush often.
- Drink water after you are done eating to remove the presence of food particles and rinse your mouth out if you can.
- Keep yourself regular by eating a high-fiber diet.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
- Eat fresh parsley sprigs after a spicy meal.
- Eat plenty of fresh crunchy vegetables to clean the teeth and stimulate the gums.
- Brush after drinking coffee.
Good dental hygiene, including flossing, is the best way to prevent bad breath. If you wear dentures, soak them nightly. A well-designed toothbrush or water pic can also get to hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Brushing the tongue is also recommended (the tongue has hair like projections which can catch plaque).