Halitosis – How To Treat And Prevent It Naturally
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on February 3, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Ew. Don’t come near me, please. I love you madly, but I can smell your breath a mile away, and it’s yucky (at least I’m honest). I’ll bet you have a nasty taste in your mouth, too. Right? Like you ate a big pile of dog poopy? Yeah. Thought so. But you didn’t, of course, so why the heck does your mouth taste and smell like it? Oh dear. This isn’t just an ordinary case of morning breath – oh, no. You have halitosis – a common condition affecting millions of people everywhere! But don’t worry, I have some tips on how to clean up your bad breath act – naturally.
What Is Halitosis?
The word halitosis is taken from the Latin word “halitus” that means “breath”. Chronic halitosis is when a person produces an offensive odor from their oral or nasal regions and they’re unable to eliminate it through normal oral hygiene techniques, such as flossing or brushing. Halitosis can happen to anyone of any age, and can be so embarrassing!
Symptoms Of Halitosis
Ok, so you wake up in the morning and you don’t want anyone kissing you anywhere near your mouth. Morning breath! Saliva, which acts to naturally clean our mouths of residual foods, also helps clear up bad odors. Since our salivary glands are inactive when we sleep, we wake up tasting and smelling a little funky behind the lips. Normal. Once we eat something, or brush our teeth (both acts activate saliva production), the problem is fixed.
But halitosis is NOT morning breath! It can’t be fixed by normal brushing or eating! Read on to learn why…
Halitosis can be caused by a number of medical factors, mostly in the mouth and the lungs.
- Sinus infections and abnormal sinus anatomies
- Tonsilar infections or tonsilolitis
- Lung diseases
- Kidney diseases
- Liver diseases
- Blood disorders
- Gallbladder dysfunction
- Certain foods
- Extensive dental decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Oral infections or abscesses
- Oral cancers
- Xerostomia (dry mouth condition). Many medications can contribute to a condition of xerostomia.
- Oral conditions resulting from post-nasal drips or discharges
- Allergy conditions
- A proliferation of specific types of gram negative anaerobic bacteria. Phew! That’s a lotta causes!
Symptoms You May Have Halitosis
So how can you tell the difference between just bad morning breath and halitosis? Here are some typical symptoms:
- Yucky taste in the mouth
- Your breath is interfering with your social or professional success.
- Somebody has commented on your bad breath, or offered you mints or chewing gum.
- You feel embarrassed by your breath .
- You find yourself using either breath mints, mouthwashes, chewing gum, or internal breath fresheners – all the time!
- People step back from you when you are talking to them, or they avoid direct contact with you.
- You experience a dry mouth or thick saliva on a regular basis and can’t seem to improve the condition.
How To Treat And Prevent Naturally
Many dentists advise that halitosis is caused by something in the mouth or nasal cavities, such as an infection or an allergy to a food. In my humble, personal professional opinion, halitosis is also caused by an overgrowth of candida yeast – which causes all kinds of imbalances and bodily upsets. Either way, here are some tried and true natural tips to treat and prevent halitosis:
- Don’t smoke, people. This one is obvious.
- Everyday brushing and flossing, with an oxygenated dental system. I LOVE THIS stuff!
- Having a thorough dental diagnosis at least 2 times a year
- Cleaning the mouth after eating foods
- Chewing Xylitol-based gums to clean and moisten the mouth. Xylitol is a plant-based sugar that has clinically been proven to prevent cavities!
- Instead of gums and minty candies, try a little parsley after meals – that’s right, the garnish on your plate! It is really high in chlorophyll, which can help neutralize the breath.
- Keeping a mostly alikaline diet, to avoid acidity in the mouth (and whole body). Read my article HERE.
- Drink fresh, pure water and avoid dehydrating substances – including (sob) caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol!
Treating and preventing halitosis can be simple, once you identify the cause. C’mon, hurry up. I want a kiss!
Photo Credit: k790i
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan