A commonly asked question on our helpline is what to do for bad breath, medically known as halitosis. This is a problem that most people will experience somewhere in life. Bad breath odours differ, depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have almost no mouth odour, while others have bad breath and don’t even know it. Because it’s difficult to assess your own breath, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions. For many, wearing a mask has been the friend that answers the questions.
Have you ever pondered how many different products exist to freshen the breath? From 101 different toothpastes all promising cleaner and whiter teeth and fresher breath, to mints, mouthwashes, chewing sticks and chewing gum. Who does not have a little something stashed in a drawer, handbag, or pocket for the just in case? Yet, what can be done if the bad breath is constant, and when should you see your doctor? If you have bad breath, review your oral hygiene routine. Are you brushing your teeth and tongue properly, do you use dental floss daily, and are you drinking enough water every day? What are you eating and drinking? If you still have a problem, see your dentist first. If he/she rules out all reasons, it might be necessary to see a homeopathic doctor or your GP.
What are the common reasons for bad breath?
- It could be a dental problem; in which case it is best to see the dentist to have the problem resolved. No amount of dental cleaning will clear the smell. A ‘food trap’ can be present in the mouth which collects food where bacteria can thrive on that will cause a bad odour. Tooth decay is another reason and requires dental work to correct it. See your dentist and oral hygienist at least once a year. Your mom was right to instill this routine in your childhood years!
- Poor mouth hygiene is also a common reason. How should the mouth be cleaned and how often? Twice a day is more than enough. Evening cleaning should start with flossing first. No amount of brushing or mouthwash gargling will clean between the teeth. Only floss can do that. Learn how to floss properly by asking your dentist to show you. Once done, rinse your mouth out. Now comes the brushing part. Circular movements with a soft brush and toothpaste and move all around and over and back of teeth. Rinse the mouth again. Now for the tongue washing. Add a small dollop of toothpaste to the toothbrush and brush your tongue from front to back, rinse your mouth and the toothbrush well and re-brush to brush the toothpaste off. Water is not enough to remove it all from the tongue as the tongue has grooves in it. Your tongue should now be pink and clean with no sign of plaque or toothpaste from the back to the front. If you now still wish to use a mouthwash, do so. Flossing is most important and then the brushing of teeth and tongue. There is no need to floss in the morning as you have not yet eaten something, unless you clean your teeth only after breakfast. Keep floss in your bag and at the office as you might want to floss again after a meal especially if you have consumed food that is inclined to lodge between the teeth such as muesli, biltong, broccoli, spinach or nuts and seeds.
- Not drinking enough water every day and throughout the day. This is a common problem for many people. Few people drink enough water every day. Coffee, tea, cool drinks, alcoholic drinks, fizzy drinks, juices even herbal teas are NOT water. Pure, clear and nothing added to the water is how your body loves water.
- Dry mouth is a known cause of bad breath. This is when not enough water is consumed, or not enough saliva is produced and why you get morning breath after a night’s rest. It is even worse if you have been sleeping with your mouth open. Kidney disorders could cause dry mouth which could lead to bad breath as do certain medicines.
- Poor digestive health. Constipation, liver and gall bladder problems, pancreas problems, reflux, and poor elimination from the colon all can cause a bad smell on the breath. When the food that has been consumed is not passed out of the body properly, the gasses created by the food and matter that sits in the gut are reabsorbed into the blood stream and circulates to the rest of the body including the lungs which can cause a smell on the breath.
- Negative stress! Yes, adrenaline and high levels of cortisol in the body causes bad breath and body odour too.
- Poor eating habits. A diet rich in animal protein, dairy products, fats and oils, sugar, refined foods, fast foods and processed foods and drinks can cause bad breath and body odour. Its acidic for the body which then causes the smell.
- Eating garlic, onions, and spices! Phew…. we have all smelt someone that ate a large amount of garlic the previous day. It not only escapes through the mouth but through every pore of the body. Yes, garlic is healthy but not TOO much! So too for spices and onions. These foods can cause an odour on the breath and body of the person consuming them.
- Certain supplements and medicines can cause bad breath. Especially muscle building and enhancing supplements.
- Mouth, gum, or throat infections such as throat infections and tonsilitis are a common reason for bad breath. This clears the moment the infection is resolved. So too can a postnasal drip cause a bad odour.
- Tobacco smoking causes its own unpleasant odours in the mouth and breath, and often smokers are more prone to gum diseases which contribute to bad breath.
- Medicines can cause bad breath as some indirectly cause dry mouth which is a known cause of breath odour. When certain medicines are broken down and eliminated out of the body, this could cause an odour on the breath too. Think of those that have had anesthetic or chemotherapy. It causes a distinct smell on the persons breath and body odour. It’s the body’s way of eliminating the medication out of the system. Certain medicines cause imbalances in the gut or negatively affect the liver and kidneys and can cause an odour.
- Other causes. Illnesses such as certain cancers, and metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odour because of the chemicals they produce in the cells. Digestive issues can be associated with bad breath. Bad breath in young children can be caused by food lodged in a nostril. Yes, it’s rare but it can happen.
Products that can help overcome halitosis:
- A.Vogel Molkosan – this prebiotic digestive tonic has been the saving grace of many people who suffer from bad breath due to poor digestive health. Take it three times per day to help correct the imbalances in the gut. The nr 1 winner in the Living Naturally stable!
- A.Vogel Boldocynara and A.Vogel Nephrosolid – The trusted duo to support the liver and kidneys to detox the body, especially after illness and chronic use of medication.
- A.Vogel Multiforce – this pH balancing mineral supplement supports the body to clear excess acidity. A leading cause of breath odour.
- Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Toothpaste – When you start using this toothpaste, you will never want to use anything else again! Teeth are squeaky clean with this fluoride free, delicious tasting toothpaste.
If the above products together with lifestyle changes and after seeing the GP has still not resolved your bad breath, go and see a homeopath and ask for Nux Vom 30CH and Sulphur 30CH. Take the Nux Vom in the evening for 5 days and the Sulphur in the morning for 5 days. Repeat once a month. In all our years at the home of Living Naturally, we have always trusted Nux Vom and Sulphur to help clear body and breath odour quickly and effectively. Remember, this is after you have ticked all the other boxes and probable causes.