Nutrition for Bad Breath
Bad breath (also known as halitosis) is a normal condition that everyone experiences, sometimes daily, and most often in the morning. Reasons for bad breath vary. Some solutions are as simple as discontinuing tobacco use, or being careful about consuming garlic and onions. Since bad breath can be a symptom of more serious internal conditions, eliminating bad breath might involve making lifestyle changes. Proper nutrition with plenty of water will assist most people in their quest for keeping fresh breath.
How Can Nutrition Help Cure Bad Breath?
Many medicine cabinets, purses or office desks are likely to hold a breath freshener. Most mouthwashes and breath mints simply mask the problem. Nutrition—both in the form of a healthy diet that ensures optimum health, and the use of natural herbs as breath deodorizers—help the body process and eliminate the bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Good nutrition can offset serious problems that might lead to bad breath, including:
- Maintaining healthy teeth and gums, thus making it less likely that decaying teeth or diseased gums will become a fertile ground for bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Maintaining good control of diabetes, avoiding diabetic ketoacidosis that creates a foul odor from breath.
- Not smoking, which not only eliminates the foul scent of stale tobacco but also reduces the risk of cancer.
- Eating a balanced diet with a maximum amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid excessive amounts of meat and dairy products which might give rise to higher levels of bacteria that cause bad breath, as well as leading to possible diseases of which bad breath might also be a symptom.
Some simpler solutions to bad breath that also supply the body with good nutrition include the following:
- Morning bad breath—common to most adults, often the best solution is eating breakfast. During sleep, when the mouth is motionless, bacterial activity intensifies. Even on an empty stomach, after so many hours, the stench can arise because the digestive enzymes are still active. That activity creates the bad smell that translates into bad breath. Just by eating some food, bad breath can be eliminated.
- After a meal—eating and drinking can give rise to mucous in the mouth, increasing bacterial activity, and also causing bad breath. Simply drinking water with a meal helps rid the mouth of bacteria by helping to eliminate the mucous.
- Dry mouth—without enough saliva to process the bacteria and rinse it away, dead cells accumulate on the tongue, gums and inside the cheeks of the mouth. Eating citrus fruits, such as oranges, will help produce the saliva necessary to eliminate the bacteria of the dead cells that cause the odor.
Why Use Nutrition to Treat Bad Breath?
Whether it is a superficial odor easily eliminated, or the symptom of an underlying disease, breath odor scents the air each person exhales. The odor comes from an internal source. Good nutrition, including healthy food, possible dietary supplements, and an adequate amount of water help maintain the body’s digestive system and eliminates bacteria that will cause bad breath and possibly ill health. Using fresh herbs, such as parsley and basil that contain chlorophyll—which has a deodorizing effect, in addition to certain vitamins—will also be longer-lasting and healthier than using an artificially produced mouthwash that is simply masking the problem. Other than the temporary scent that might come from drinking coffee, smoking or eating garlic, onions or cabbage, a healthy body is not likely to be overshadowed by bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be due to several causes, both simple and complex. Basically, it represents bacteria accumulating in the mouth, on the tongue, and inside the cheeks of the mouth, that causes foul odors.
Listed below are major causes that can give rise to bad breath:
- Food - The breakdown of food particles in and around the teeth. In addition, oils from garlic and onions are carried by the bloodstream into the lungs and emerge as bad breath until the food is out of the body. Onions and garlic might produce a foul scent for as long as 72 hours after eating.
- Dental issues - Poor hygiene and periodontal or gum disease either keeps or produces bacteria from food particles or plaque.
- Dry mouth - Saliva is necessary to keep the mouth clean. Certain medications, smoking, or sleeping with an open mouth can aggravate this condition.
- Diseases - Lung infections and abscesses, certain cancers, metabolic disorders, kidney failure, liver failure, acid reflux, lack of diabetic control, and others can cause bad breath.
- Mouth, nose, and throat conditions - Throat infections and sinusitis can create bad breath.
- Tobacco products - These increase the possibility of dry mouth and periodontal disease.
- Severe dieting - During fasting, chemicals in the body break down and produce breath odor that has a fruit-like, foul scent.
Bad breath might linger even after following normal measures to alleviate it. If that is the case, a medical professional should be consulted to determine the cause.
What is Nutrition?
Nutrition refers the nutrients that the human body takes in order to keep it functioning and healthy. It includes food, dietary supplements, and water or other liquids that are ingested to nourish and sustain life.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services offer MyPyramid, an updated drawing that illustrates the balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water necessary to maintain optimal health. Other pyramids have been altered to include ethnic, vegetarian and vegan diets. Holistic health practitioners and dieticians can provide individualized eating programs that fit with lifestyle, medical condition and personal tastes in order to provide a person with the best opportunity to maintain a healthy diet.
The importance of a healthy daily diet cannot be overstated. Good nutrition is essential in helping the human body function properly in a number of ways that include optimum organ function, a healthy weight, and adequate energy for both mental and physical well-being.
In addition, some other natural foods that provide natural solutions to bad breath include:
- Yogurt, plain, with no sugar—this reduces hydrogen sulfide
- Berries, which deter foul-scented bacteria.
- Mixed spices, including fennel seeds, cardamom, anise and coriander, which are mixed, and then left to sit, to be nibbled on periodically.
- Crunch foods like carrots, apples and pears—the fiber and saliva produce a scrubbing action in the mouth.
Finding a Holistic Nutrition Therapist or Practitioner
Holistic nutritionists provide excellent consultation for promoting a healthy and balanced diet. Local holistic health clinics, often under the auspices of a chiropractic health care center, might also provide advice on nutrition for specific needs. Check individual health insurance policies. If chiropractic is covered, it might also indicate that nutrition therapy is covered, especially if diagnosed with a disease such as diabetes.