Bad Breath (Halitosis)
The health of your mouth, teeth and gums has a profound impact on the health of the whole body. Diet, immune system, genetics, inflammation, microbial balance, nutrition, and methylation all interact to affect oral health. Although anyone can experience occasional bad breath aka halitosis, chronic bad breath and body odor are symptoms of an imbalance in the body and may be a warning sign of a deeper underlying health problem. Bad breath can be embarrassing and those that suffer with chronic bad breath are usually unaware of how pungent their breath really is.
Chewing gum and sucking on breath mints will not address the root cause of bad breath. Bad breath can be an indication of an oral health problem such as an infection, a problem in the gut (very common and often the case), poor lifestyle choices, and unhealthy habits.
Root Cause of Bad Breath
The key factor to eliminating bad breath (and body odor) is to identify the root cause!
- Digestion insufficiency (carbohydrate fermentation and protein putrefication due to HCL insufficiency) as a result of hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) or achlorhydria (zero stomach acid).
- Bacteria imbalances in the colon
- Acid reflux (a sign of poor digestion and malnourishment)
- Poor protein digestion resulting in proteins that putrefy in the gut
- Pancreatic deficiency
Infections, Leaky Gut, Disease and Toxic Overload
- Chronic sinus infections or sinusitis can cause rancid smelling breath (90% of all sinus infections are fungal related)
- Problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, gum disease, tonsillitis, infections, gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Root-canaled teeth. Leaky infected root canals cause inflammation and infections, contributing to bad breath. It was Weston A. Price, DDS who became suspicious that root-canaled teeth always remained infected, in spite of treatments. Root-canaled teeth are essentially “dead” teeth that can become silent incubators for highly toxic anaerobic bacteria that can, under certain conditions, make their way into your bloodstream to cause a number of serious medical conditions—many not appearing until decades later causing chronic degenerative and neurological diseases.
- Liver congestion or liver disease
- Respiratory infections
- Leaky gut
- Kidney disease
- Test for and rule out heavy metal toxicity, Candida overgrowth, H. pylori, SIBO and other underlying infections and bacteria imbalances that contribute to bad breath
► Lifestyle factors linked to bad breath
- Poor dental hygiene (one of the many risk factors of heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease is poor dental health).
- Sugar and carb-heavy diets
- OTC and prescription medications (antidepressants, diuretics and even aspirin) can cause dry mouth, which is a direct cause of bad breath.
- Stress, fatigue and adrenal dysfunction
- Extreme dieting and fasting
- Higher protein intake, especially when combined with an inability to digest protein
- Food intolerances and food sensitivities
- Mouth breathing, which can cause dry mouth and bad breath.
- Tobacco, coffee and alcohol use
- Zinc or magnesium deficiency
Natural Remedies for Bad Breath, Whiter Teeth & Healthy Gums
Food as Medicine for Healthy Gums and Fresh Breath
- Fresh green smoothies: celery, parsley, spinach, watercress, fennel, beet tops, carrot, cucumber
- Drink a cup of water with the juice from a fresh lemon or lime upon rising.
- Chlorophyll-rich herbs and foods: parsley, cilantro, basil and an abundance and assortment of leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables
- Include more fermented foods in the diet: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha
- Herbs: chew fennel, cardamom or anise seeds, which contain cineole, a potent antiseptic that destroys bacteria
- Before meals drink a mixture of one tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water with a sprinkle of cinnamon or ginger
- Sip on tea: Pau d ‘Arco, fennel tea, peppermint, bergamot, black, white and green tea. The polyphenols in tea help prevent growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath.
- Chew food thoroughly to activate enzyme activity.
- Chew a sprig of fresh parsley, a fresh piece of ginger root, fresh wedge of lemon or lime after meals.
- Drink generous amounts of clean, filtered water every day. Add a pinch of cinnamon or ginger to the water, fresh rosemary or mint leaves.
- Realize that eating items such as curry, garlic, onions, hot peppers, meat, tuna and strong cheeses may contribute to bad breath that can last for 24 hours.
- Avoid sugar, grains and processed carbs – a fuel source for bacteria that directly causes bad breath.
Lifestyle Tips for Whiter Teeth, Healthier Gums and Fresh Breath
- Keep your teeth and gums healthy by consistently practicing good oral hygiene. Hundreds of bacteria reside in the mouth.
- Brush your teeth, gums and your tongue (two to three times daily) especially after meals and before bedtime.
- Use a tongue scraper upon rising and again before bedtime.
- Floss every single day. Daily flossing is crucial as it disrupts invisible microbial biofilms.
- Use only non-fluoride toothpaste or tooth soap. Other options include coconut oil, bentonite clay, sea salt and aluminum-free baking soda.
- Brush gum area softly and lightly with a few drops of liquid iodine forte (helpful for bacteria) or Uncle Harry’s Tooth and Gum Elixir.
- Use the tongue scraper and brush your tongue with baking soda before bedtime.
- Daily flossing is highly important, especially before bedtime.
- Disinfect your toothbrush periodically with liquid iodine and water. Rinse your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide before using.
- Replace your toothbrush every month to prevent bacteria buildup.
- Invest in a sonic toothbrush to help reduce tartar and plaque buildup
- Avoid commercial mouthwash as most contain alcohol, flavorings, colors and dyes.
- Use Aloe Vera as a mouthwash to combat bad breath and remove dental plaque
- DIY homemade mouthwash: add a couple drops of tea tree oil, turmeric oil, peppermint oil or thyme oil to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
- Consider oil pulling with coconut oil (effective for reducing plaque, bacterial and halitosis). Oil pulling has been used extensively for many years as a traditional Indian folk remedy to prevent teeth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, dryness of throat and cracked lips, and for strengthening the teeth and gums.
- Test for and rule out underlying bacterial, fungal, yeast, thrush, H.pylori and Candida infections.
- If you chew gum, look for chewing gum with xylitol, which reduces bacterial colonization of the mouth
- See your dentist regularly.
Supplemental Support for Fresh Breath
- Nutrient support from digestive enzymes with HCL and probiotics are the two primary supplements for those experiencing chronic halitosis, a healthy microbiota and balanced bowel flora.
- Bile support for those with congested bile and difficulty digesting fats
- Pancreatic enzymes for those with pancreatic deficiency or an inability to digest fats
- Cytozyme-THY, thymus extract normalized immune function and reduces dental dysbiosis.
- Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D, important for overall health and dental health
- Proteolytic enzymes taken on an empty stomach away from food.
- Turmeric extract, curcumin
- Grapeseed extract, helpful for gum disease prevention
- Systemic/topical methylfolate
- Determine zinc status and restore with zinc supplementation if deficient
Keeping your digestive system healthy, addressing leaky gut, ruling out infections and optimizing digestion is the key to eliminating bad breath. If a bacterial imbalance, Candida overgrowth, yeast or fungal infection is your problem, the appropriate dietary, lifestyle and supplemental support must be followed.
If bad breath persists after making the above changes, see your dentist or periodontist.