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Bad Breath Explained

 By | January 24, 2020 | No Comments
 Category: General Wellness Healthy Diet Three Pillars of Health

The medical term: Halitosis.
The plain reality: A turn-off, a deal-breaker, a sign of possible health problems.

Think bad breath is as simple as eating onions and garlic? Or perhaps you blame it on poor hygiene. While there is truth to that, there are other, and perhaps less obvious, culprits.

Bad Breath Triggers

  • Foods. Food’s journey begins in your mouth, when chewing breaks it down. From there, the food is digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, then carried off to your lungs, where it is expelled via your breath. The odor won’t fully recede until the foods have passed through your body; the length of time varies with each person.
  • Dry Mouth. When your mouth is dry, saliva production is decreased. Saliva plays an important role in moistening and cleansing your mouth by neutralizing acids and washing away dead cells that accumulate throughout your mouth. If these cells are not removed, the cells decompose and cause bad breath.
  • Medications. Hundreds of medications and over-the counter drugs can cause dry mouth (see above); some include antihistamines, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, decongestants, high blood pressure medications and muscle relaxants.
  • Diseases. Among the diseases and conditions that can cause bad breath are respiratory infections (like pneumonia or bronchitis), chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and kidney or liver problems.
  • Smoking. Not only can smoking – or chewing on tobacco – cause bad breath, but it can also wreak havoc inside your mouth by staining and irritating your teeth and reducing your ability to taste foods.
  • Gum (or periodontal) Disease. Caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth, the resulting bacteria can cause toxins to form in your mouth and irritate your gums. Untreated gum disease can damage the gums, jawbone and even lead to tooth loss.

Bad Breath Busters

Yes, mouthwashes, breath sprays and chewing gum and mints (preferably sugarless) might cover up the problem. But they’re just a temporary fix. More help is at hand!

  • Eat Celery. It’s full of fiber – making it helpful at fighting bad breath. Fiber-rich foods help produce saliva, which you need to wash away the build-up of plaque. A good ole crunchy Granny Smith apple or carrot stick will do the job, too.
  • Go Herbal. With its deodorizing constituent of chlorophyll, parsley and dill can freshen your breath after a stinky meal. Other herbs that are might be helpful include coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary, basil, cilantro and cardamom.
  • Drink Tea. Full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that can stop plaque from clinging to your teeth, black or green tea can help keep your breath fresh. Polyphenols have been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Get Your Vitamins. Gum disease and gingivitis, which are major causes of bad breath, can be avoided with good nutrition and vitamins, especially C and E. Foods rich in antioxidants can help your immune system fight infection and keep teeth and gums healthy. Remember to include things like vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries and melons into your diet
  • Brush and Floss. Brushing after meals removes food debris and plaque. Flossing is important, by removing microscopic plaque on your teeth and excess food particles that can hide out between your teeth and even in unfilled cavities. And don’t forget your tongue: excess plaque can coat its surface. (The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and clean between your teeth once a day by using an interdental cleaner such as floss.) Tip: Replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
  • Drink Water. Lots of it. It’ll keep your mouth moist.

And of course, there’s this one: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough exam and cleaning.



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