So whats the deal with bad breath anyway? It’s that taboo subject where you never want to have it, you won’t ever point it out so someone and you wonder if you may need a piece of gum yourself. But why do we have it? It’s not just because you had onions on your sandwich or garlic in your salad. It can be chronic halitosis, which you may be surprised to hear effects around 50% of us.
Even if you chew gum all day, which I don’t recommend, or you use mouthwash which isn’t all that affective either. It is still going to be there. It’s the underlying condition that needs attention.
Lets look at mouthwash. It tends to be drying and a dry mouth leads to bad breath. Some studies have shown the benefits of certain essential oils such peppermint and eucalyptus but I recommend using caution. Better yet, buy a pre-made mouthwash containing those and make sure it doesn’t contain drying alcohols or chlorine dioxide (sodium chlorite).
Another helpful technique comes from Ayurvedic medicine traditions called oil pulling. This is done by swooshing oil in your mouth for 20-30 minutes, the latest trend is coconut oil but many others like almond or olive oils. You will want to use what works best for you but also has the best anti-microbial properties. It is said that this practice kills pathogenic bacteria, promotes good oral hygiene and may even help detoxify your system,. Be careful to not swallow the oil when you are done, you don’t want to swallow all that junk, spit it in the garbage. No not the sink…
At the end of the day none of this is getting to the root cause, it is simply putting a band-aid on top.
You will want to head over to your dental hygienist and have them take a look to make sure you don’t have gingivitis or periodontitis, this is basically inflammation of the gums around the death, to be non-technical. Those who are suffering from this usually have space between their teeth and gums where food can get stuck,this leads to the build up of battery and the smell of funk in your mouth. One more reason flossing is a must. In some cases you see bleeding gums, the fun fact for this is that bad breath comes from decomposing blood, sounds appealing doesn’t it?
Let’s take a look at a few other factors. certain drugs can have the side effect of dry mouth, this isn’t always a guarantee of bad breath but it certainly doesn’t help. antidepressants, diuretics, aspirin and a few others can have this effect. Saliva plays a pretty important role in preventing bad breath so when there is a lack of it we run into problems.
Another problem can be that you are a “mouth breather” many people don’t even know they are doing it! When you breath through your mouth you dry it out… of course you can add in snoring and alcohol as well. The list goes on and on. But I digress. Let’s get back to some root causes and solutions.
A healthy digestive system is the key notably to optimal overall health but to oral health as well. There are literally trillions of beneficial (and not so beneficial) bacteria that reside in our microbiome, this is our bodies little ecosystem. They influence our entire body including our immune system, hormone levels, mood and much more. But when the balance of good and bad gets thrown out of whack it leads to a slew of problems, much worse than just bad breath. According to some the foul fishy scent of bad breath is an indicator of kidney issues,and where there are kidney issues you can be sure there are adrenal issues as well. A fruity smell could be a result of uncontrolled diabetes.
We all know that whatever we eat is either healing or harming us, when we consume highly processed foods, which predominantly contain sugar (or grains that break down into sugar) we are harming our gut. They disrupt the ‘microflora’ balance by allowing bad bacteria, yeast and fungi to not only thrive must also multiply. Whats worse is that bad bacteria multiply much quicker than the baneful ones do. Therefore not only are you feeding your health you are also feeding your bacteria…
A bad balance of bacteria can prevent the absorption of much-needed nutrients, prevent the breakdown of toxins and promote allergies.
It’s no secret we consume way to much processed foods, reined carbohydrates, soda fruit juices and other toxic concoctions which are high in sugar.
Another factor is antibiotic (over) use. While they can be needed for certain circumstances, they won’t only kill the harmful bacteria. They don’t in most cases discriminate, meaning the will destroy the beneficial organisms in your gut as well.
Another issue is the use of antibacterial soap, you know we do need some bacteria. In most cases they also contain an active compound called triclosan which kills human cells and promotes growth of bad bacteria. Kind of defeats the purpose does not it.
Agricultural chemicals like pesticides can destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut, while consuming organic minimizes this there is still some exposure.
Chlorinated and fluoridated water. Simply put the dangers are too high to list, just buy a good quality filter and grab one that alkalizes while you are at it.
Factory farmed meat, this is meat that comes from a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation or factory farm). They are given synthetic hormones, fed low dose antibiotics and consume GM grains which have been linked to the destruction of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
How to prevent this?
Eat foods that are not processed. These contain hidden sugars as well as the fact that many of us cannot tolerate the grains which also break down into sugars. Now I’m not saying all grains are bad, just be conscious of the ones you eat. Remember that bad bacteria, fungi and yeast not only thrive but also multiply when given sugar or foods breaking down into sugar. The good bacteria also doesn’t multiply at the speed of which the unhealthy bacteria do so you want to ensure you are taking care of the good guys. Feed the good not the bad.
Dangers of an imbalanced gut:
-prevents absorption of much-needed nutrients
-prevents breakdown of toxins.
-contributes to allergies both seasonal, food related and animal related.
So what should you be eating?
If you choose to eat meat ensure that it is pastured meat/dairy. No GM feed and of course hormone and antibiotic free
Unprocessed, whole foods are best
Aim to eat as much of your diet raw as you can, this may be difficult in the winter months so cooking lightly is fine.
Organic is best
Get your carbs from your veggies. White potatoes are not as bad as we think, in moderation. There are many other sources though.
Don’t forget those probiotics (good bacteria) and of course the prebiotics (food for the good bacteria).
Eat more fermented foods. As long as your body can handle them then they are beneficial. We have sauerkraut at every meal.
Get the bone broth into you, college is not only good for your skin, hair and nails but also for your teeth.
But most importantly don't forget to schedule an appointment with your hygienist today.
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