Bad breath, which is also known as halitosis, is something that plagues all of us at least once in awhile. Sometimes it is caused by something we have eaten such as garlic or onions or other strong smelling foods that tend to linger. Bad breath can also be caused by some sort of medical condition such as acid reflux, kidney or liver disease or a variety of disorders of the digestive tract. And of course let us not forget the number one cause of bad breath and that is poor dental hygiene and/or gum disease. No matter what the cause of the bad breath, no one enjoys having bad breath or being around another person who has bad breath. This leaves many of us searching for something we can do to freshen up our breath.
Why Does Bad Breath Occur?
For the most part the cause of the foul odor that is associated with bad breath comes from specific bacteria which tend to grow in areas that are not exposed to oxygen, such as the back of the tongue and the throat, as well as deep pockets within the gums. These bacterium produce volatile sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide that in turn cause a foul odor in the mouth. Dead skin and food particles in a mouth that is not cleaned properly can also lead to bad breath.
Proper Dental Care
It is suggested that everyone brush their teeth three times a day and floss at least once daily. However, it is rare to find a person who strictly adheres to these guidelines. In fact, many people admit to only brushing their teeth once in the morning. This can lead to a lot of build up of plaque, tartar and odor causing bacteria that result in foul breath. It is important that you not only brush a minimum of twice a day and floss at least once a day but that you also see a dentist at least once every 6 months or a year in order to have a professional cleaning done. This can help keep the hidden bacteria to a minimum. In addition, dentists also have tools that are designed to help scrape any excess bacteria off the back of the tongue as this can also cause bad breath.
Drinking Tea for Bad Breath
Studies have shown that both black and green tea contain compounds called polyphenols that could possibly help stop or slow the growth of odor causing bacteria in the mouth. These polyphenols could also keep the bacteria from producing hydrogen sulfide which as discussed early is responsible for bad breath. The great thing about tea is that it can be consumed either hot or cold, making it much easier to get several cups of tea a day no matter what kind of climate you live in.
Zinc deficiency also seems to be a major cause of bad breath and there is a lot of research to suggest that using zinc supplements can help eliminate bad breath. There are many foods that are high in zinc or you can also go to your local pharmacy or health food store to purchase zinc tablets. In addition, many oral hygiene products such as mouthwashes and toothpastes are now being made with zinc in them. As with any vitamin supplement always be sure to check with your doctor before taking anything.
Drink Plenty of Clear Fluids
There are many members of the medical community that believe that bad breath may also be caused by excessive heat within the stomach. For this reason drinking plenty of fresh water and clear fluids is a great way to keep the stomach cool and help deter any bad breath which is caused by heat. Water will also help aid in the digestion process by rinsing the food down and helping it move into the bowel more efficiently. This can help prevent indigestion which could easily lead to bad breath.
Chew on Parsley Sprigs
If you have ever noticed that often times when you eat in a restaurant there will be a garnish of fresh parsley on your plate. This may make the plate look nice but there is also a very practical use for this particular garnish. Parsley contains chlorophyll which is actually a deodorizer and a very effective tool for fighting bad breath. In fact some people believe that bad breath starts in the stomach and if this is the case then chewing a couple of parsley sprigs will help counter act that, especially if you have just eaten something spicy with a strong odor.
Most of the time, we will not be aware that we have bad breath until someone points it out. However, there are a few tricks to finding out if you have bad breath or not. The first one is to cup your hands over your mouth and blow, then smell the air you have blown into your hands to see if you detect bad breath. An even better way to determine if you have bad breath is to take the corner of a towel and rub it along your tongue and then smell the towel, if it smells at all foul then you probably have bad breath. Remember that chewing mints and gums are great for masking bad breath but they will not solve the problem, only cover it up temporarily.