So maybe it’s been wearing that mask everyday, or maybe you knew before – but man does your breath stink? Well today I am talking about WHERE bad breath comes from and what you can do about it at home right now!
What is bad breath?
One of the most common things I see with clients is halitosis (bad breath), or complaints about breath. Crazy enough, you can actually NOT have bad breath. There are some main reasons why people develop bad breath while others do not.
Sometimes foods make someone’s bad breath WORSE, and sometimes it has NOTHING to do with the food at all. Right while eating, or shortly finishing a meal you may find your breath has an odor of the meal, but within a short amount of time, and some brushing, you will find that dissipates in MOST people.
However, if you are thinking to yourself that you can’t seem to get rid of the bad breath NO MATTER what your state of things, or it’s terrible to the point where you cannot even stand it at any point during the day here is why.
What influences bad breath?
1- Digestive Imbalance!
This first one is probably NOT what you expected! Digestive imbalance from the stomach, to the small and large intestines can create a bad breath scenario. In fact, MOST of my clients that have this symptom have had A LOT of digestive distress and are seeing me to balance that back out again.
This can come from a few things:
• Low stomach acid – check out this article here.
This is actually a VERY COMMON issue today. If you have other symptoms like gas before your meal is over, excessive belching during the meals and right after, bloating and more – you likely are having some type of stomach acid imbalance. Acid is super important for microbe control (keep them from growing in the stomach and upper small intestine), as well as food breakdown that prevents leaky gut. Without either of these things we can get infections (smell), and improper food break down which leads to leaky gut over time in the intestines.
• Slow movement and transit time of your meals
Too slow of a transit time creates a fermentation type of situation, or stagnant food situation in our guts. Imagine how your garbage smells (bits of food partially broken down) when it sits in a warm house while you are on vacation and doesn’t get taken out until you get back or someone comes to let your dog out? Get it? We need a certain amount of movement through our system to keep our foods from basically developing bad microbes and fermenting or rotting inside.
This same concept applies to constipation. This is slow or stopped transit time through your system. And in fact, the longer it stays in the bowel before exiting the more likely it is to me REABSORBED back into the blood stream. Of course, given the description above – do we want that? Nope.
• Abnormal microbes (yeast/Candida, parasites, bacteria) in the digestive tract. This can happen from a heavily processed diet, to overeating, to digestive issues from hidden food sensitivities and more. This is something we assess together in nutritional therapy and we can target our foods to balance, and remove foods creating imbalance, and in some cases target supplements at these imbalances.
• Exposure to chemicals in food, water, air, and drugs
Many people have a wide array of prescription medications on hand for themselves today, and on top of those are OTC meds they buy at the pharmacy. Everything we put in as a drug – whether OTC or script – has a consequence. It may be that it is utilizing your nutrients, leaving you depleting, or it literally is killing off some (or all) of your microbes that you need. Or it creates a distress situation and imbalance in the gut, which then alters the microbe status. We look at what might be the cause of these things in nutritional therapy and your particular situation.
What can you do then to balance your gut to get better smelling breath?
* Ditch processed foods.
Check out this post here and here. These foods promote poor microbiome growth, and lack of nutrients that help balance out our digestive system and body. Think empty foods. Nothing there. They just fill a caloric value and nothing more.
The more fresh, real food you eat the better your microbes become. The better your digestive balance is. We need the plant material, and fiber from plants, to have a nice balanced digestive system. Getting the right amount of vegetables and fruits daily will provide a great fiber base to boost immunity and get vitamins and minerals in that you need to help tissue healing from digestive damage.
* Drink plenty of PLAIN water daily.
One of the biggest challenges most of my clients face is drinking enough plain water daily. You should having at least half of your body weight in water ounces daily. This is a BASE. If you have a cup of coffee, you need 12 more oz. If you have a glass of wine – another 12 oz. If you workout – another 12 oz. or more. If it is very hot or you are outside and sweating – even more.
No milk doesn’t count. In fact, drinking COW’S milk daily is not recommended at all. Cow’s milk in overconsumption is linked to poor iron absorption and more. Despite media and popular belief most of your calcium and minerals come from other WHOLE FOOD sources – like vegetables, fruits. Not only cow’s milk here but any milk. There is not a need for this in your diet. If you enjoy it with a whole grain oat cereal, a small amount that one time a day is plenty.
Adding anything other than fresh fruit or fresh vegetables to your water is also not necessary and will not help with hydration. There are loads of products on the market to sweeten and alter the taste of water. Most of these are chemical-laden and really bad for you. Slice up some cucumber, lemon or citrus, add it to the water and then consume. Otherwise stick with some nice plain water! Do avoid meal time water drinking, as this can alter how well your stomach acid works during the meal.
* Add in a pre/probiotic – but get assistance first
I have talked about this need in many of my blog articles BUT not ANY probiotic will do or be WHAT YOU need. Unfortunately (and fortunately) we all have different biomes and different needs. Depending on where the imbalance lies for you – different strands in probiotics may work or may not for your gut. This is also something I can help with in nutritional therapy.
Some basics include lactobacillus acidophilus, and bifidobacterium bifidus, but having a pre/probiotic with other strands that are very targeted is important. It is important to also have the prebiotic portion (which can be from a variety of types of fibers).
2- Dental hygiene.
Poor dental hygiene alters your mouth microbiome. What is that you might be wondering? Those are the microbes that live in your mouth. There should be a balance of microbes to prevent SMELL and dental problems. HOWEVER, sometimes that doesn’t happen.
This can come from products that are killing off healthy (and unhealthy) microbes – leaving you bare. You may think that bare and “clean” is good, but it actually isn’t. You do NEED both positive and negative microbes and balance. You don’t want those negatives to take charge or you get some smell and dental decay. You need some microbes in there to balance it out.
“Brushing teeth promotes health throughout your ENTIRE body, including protection against heart disease and dementia.”The Whole Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay
As we age our micriobiome changes orally and in our body so we do suffer losses of certain positive microbes. But the great news is with proper care and nutrition we can work to still maintain a balance.
What can we do?
Brush our teeth at least twice a day, and preferably after each meal.
This also includes – yes you guessed it – FLOSS! Floss removes the food particles which attract and come with microbes of their own, and the same with brushing. It helps create a balance and not let our bad microbes take over.
Get regular cleanings at your dentist – every 6 months.
If you have had your dentist tell you this – you know. It is important to get in every six months to help with the cleaning of build up on the teeth. It is also important that AFTER that appointment where your microbes get VERY CLEAN, that you balance that back out. Again – having limited or only one type of microbe is always bad for balance. Have some sauerkraut, kefir or yogurt following to boost up your supply of positive microbes again!
“Cavities are not directly caused by sugar, but instead by certain microbes living OFF the sugar. The microbes produce acid which dissolves tooth enamel and creates cavities.”The Whole Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay
Choose your dental products wisely
Aim for a toothpaste that DOES NOT have sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent). Some toothpastes do actually contain enzymes that will help promote better microbes that promote better oral health.
Mouthwash is another BIG one to look at. Unfortunately many mouthwash products kill ALL microbes and as we have learned here today – this is not a good thing! Some of these products to wash out food from eating (great thing), they do freshen breath temporarily, they keep the gum line clear (great), but they don’t prevent cavity microbes. Probiotic mouthwashes are something to look into as these are really the only type of mouthwash that helps prevent cavities. Using any other is just an added benefit to wash out leftover particles, but don’t expect it to be preventing disease.
The Whole Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay
Signs & Symptoms Analysis from a Functional Perspective by Dicken Weatherby, N.D.