5 common causes of bad breath, and what to do about them
Bad breath is a common condition. I’m sure you’ve encountered plenty of people with the problem. Bad breath can be acutely embarrassing and very distressing, but it’s also an important indicator of a health problem.
Most people think that bad breath is always caused by problems in the mouth, and they spend time and money on mouth wash and other oral antiseptics. This can mask the problem temporarily but it will return unless the underlying cause is dealt with. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis. It is often caused by problems further down the digestive tract, such as the stomach and liver.
Bad breath is commonly caused by one or more of the following:
- Tooth and gum problems
Brushing your teeth twice a day is critical for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Most people brush their teeth while in a hurry, and while thinking about a dozen other things. It’s good to get a reminder of exactly which brushing technique is most effective. It’s also important to floss your teeth before you brush. The Canadian Dental Association has a good explanation on their website.
Do your gums bleed while you brush or floss? Do your gums often feel sore or look red and inflamed? It’s important to get familiar with your mouth; the way it looks and feels. Problems in the mouth can be indicators of nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin C deficiency is the most common cause of bleeding gum and vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of gum disease. It’s important to receive an examination by a dentist periodically, even if you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. Chronic infections of the gums can lead to bad breath, but they will also spill bacterial toxins into your bloodstream and raise the risk of serious diseases such as heart attacks.
- Poor digestion in the stomach or intestines
Digestive problems are very common, particularly in people who are stressed or rushed while they eat. If you have a food sensitivity, such as to gluten, wheat or dairy products, you are likely to have poor digestion. If you are taking stomach acid blocking drugs for reflux or an ulcer, the lack of stomach acid will impair your digestion and absorption. If you cannot break down your food thoroughly and absorb it, it will provide food for all sorts of harmful gut microbes. This includes bad bacteria, yeast and parasites.
Firstly it’s important to eat in a slow and calm manner, and chew your food well. Many people find a digestive enzymes supplement immensely helpful for reducing bloating, gas and indigestion. A good quality digestive enzyme supplement will be a complete formula with additional betaine hydrochloride for the stomach and bile salts to help with fat digestion.
- An unhealthy liver
An unhealthy liver can be the cause of shockingly bad breath. You will know this if you’ve ever smelled the breath of someone with a hangover. Even if you never drink alcohol, your liver may be responsible for giving you bad breath, particularly first thing in the morning. If your diet isn’t perfect, and if you’re carrying some extra weight around your belly, chances are you have a fatty liver. This impairs the liver’s ability to cleanse and detoxify your body.
In the media you will regularly hear that detox diets and supplements are quackery because your own liver and kidneys are naturally designed to detoxify your body of all harmful compounds you are exposed to. This would be true if we lived in an ideal, unpolluted world. Unfortunately this theory doesn’t take into account the fact that not everyone’s liver is in perfect health.
If you have a fatty liver, or an inflamed liver, or hepatitis, your liver is functioning very much below par. Also let’s not forget the fact that today our bodies are exposed to thousands of new chemicals that simply didn’t exist before the second world war, let alone when humans first evolved. Our bodies are simply not equipped to deal with these new foreign chemicals. If you know your liver isn’t optimally healthy, you may benefit from the Dr Cabot's 15 Day Cleanse and Livatone Plus.
- Sinus infections
Sometimes bad breath originates from infections in the sinuses, which drip infected mucus down the back of the throat. The infected mucus enters the stomach and typically there is insufficient stomach acid to kill the bacteria. Patients like this are commonly prescribed antibiotics, which harm the intestinal microbiome, and eventually promote digestive and liver problems. So you can see that overcoming and preventing sinus infections is important for long term good health. Mucus is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, therefore it’s important to make sure you’re not producing too much of it.
Excess mucus production is a common symptom of food sensitivity, and gluten, wheat, dairy products and corn are the usual culprits. Removing these foods from your diet may give you significant relief from sinus congestion. It’s also important to clear a lingering infection. Garlic, vitamin D, Astragalus and Echinacea are all powerful infection fighters and are found in Cold Eze capsules. For stubborn infections, pulse on a weekly rotation with BactoClear, that contains Philodendron to supply berberine, and essential oils of oregano, thyme, and clove, to eliminate the microbial tendency to develop supplement resistance.
- Dry mouth
Saliva contains antimicrobial substances, and it helps to wash away excessive bacteria from your teeth and gums. If you don’t produce enough saliva, bacteria can multiply in much greater quantities and release toxins that can harm the teeth and gums. Having a dry mouth is common in people with an autoimmune disease and it’s a common side effect of several different medications. It’s quite a frequent problem among older individuals. Stress is renowned for inducing a dry mouth, so if you find yourself in a state of high stress often, you may benefit from 1 tablet or 1/2 teaspoon of magnesium twice daily to promote a greater stress tolerance.
Drinking more water is one way to manage it. Try to swish the water around your mouth for a few moments before swallowing. Chewing gum is a good way to encourage greater saliva production but it’s important to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Xylitol sweetened chewing gum is preferable because xylitol actually has dental benefits including the inhibition of plaque formation.
Bad breath is much more than just an embarrassment or a joke; it is a sign of a health problem that needs to be addressed.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.