Bad Breath and Available Remedies
Luka Dental Care, this recently compiled article is on Bad Breath and Available Remedies. We strongly urge our readers to have regular dental checkups, and while you wait for your dental appointment, here are some valuable tips that can assist you in understanding this issue and possible care.
Some people are convinced they have bad breath when their breath is completely neutral. Others have terrible breath and don’t know it. It can be hard to smell your own breath, let alone judge its odour.
Ask someone you trust to give you an honest opinion — sometime in the middle of the day, and not right after polishing off a tuna sandwich with extra onions.
If your suspicions are confirmed, and your breath is problematic, don’t worry. Many home remedies can eliminate bad breath. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Origins of bad breath
Bad breath typically originates in the mouth, where bacteria are ever-present. When you eat, bits of food get caught in your teeth. Bacteria grow on these bits of food, releasing foul-smelling sulphur compounds.
The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss often, the bacteria in your mouth continue to grow, and a thin film of bacteria known as plaque builds up on your teeth. When plaque isn’t brushed away at least twice per day, it produces a foul odour and leads to another smelly process, tooth decay.
All foods get stuck in your teeth, but certain foods like onions and garlic more commonly lead to bad breath. Digestion of these foods releases sulphur compounds into your bloodstream. When the blood reaches your lungs, it affects your breath.
Although more than 90 percent of trusted sources of bad breath cases originate in the mouth, occasionally, the source of the problem comes from elsewhere in the body. It may be a result of acid reflux, which leads to the partial regurgitation of foul-tasting liquid.
10 Ways to Fight Bad Breath Naturally
What’s even more humiliating and socially unacceptable than the remains of a spinach salad speckled across a toothy grin? Yes, it’s bad breath.
Halitosis. A foul odour emanating from the mouth. It’s not a medical emergency, of course, but some 25 to 30 percent of the world’s population suffer with this distressing problem.
The origins of bad breath are not mysterious: dental cavities, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, coated tongue (a white or yellow coating on the tongue, usually due to inflammation) are among the most common.
Hundreds of bacteria live in our mouths, and some of them—on the tongue or below the gumline or in pockets created by gum disease between gums and teeth, for example—create sulphurous smells. Other causes may include malnutrition (fat breakdown gives your breath a fruity odour), uncontrolled diabetes, and dry mouth (saliva has an antimicrobial effect). Infections such as sore throat or sinusitis, or intestinal disorders, such as heartburn, ulcers, and lactose intolerance, also result in bad breath.
Bad breath can be intermittent as well. Food and drink, such as garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol, can temporarily cause bad breath. Smokers also suffer from it.
- If you wear dentures, remove them at night and clean to get rid of bacterial buildup from food and drink.
- Drink plenty of water and swish cool water around in your mouth. This is especially helpful to freshen “morning breath.”
- Brush after every meal and floss, preferably twice a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
- Arrange regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Scrape your tongue each morning with a tongue scraper or spoon to decrease the bacteria, fungi, and dead cells that can cause odour. Hold the tip of the tongue with gauze to pull it forward in order to clean the back of the tongue.
- Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.
- Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth-freshening burst of flavour. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath.
- Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. The chlorophyll in these green plants neutralizes odours.
- Try a 30-second mouthwash rinse that is alcohol-free (unlike many off-the-shelf products). Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda (which changes the pH level and fights odour in the mouth) and a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. Don’t swallow it! (Yields several rinses.)
What home remedies can help with bad breath?
Dry mouth is a condition that can cause halitosis as well as other oral health problems.
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands inside the mouth do not produce enough saliva to rinse food debris from the mouth. This helps to control levels of oral bacteria.
Many different factors can cause dry mouth. The most common cause is dehydration. Medications and diet can also influence the moisture in the mouth.
There are no strict recommendations for daily water intake. However, the United States Food and Nutrition Board suggests 2.7 litres (l) per day for females and 3.7 l per day for males. These amounts include water from foods and beverages.
Green tea is an antioxidant-rich tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
The most abundant antioxidant in green tea is Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Research suggests EGCG may have many beneficial effects on health.
A 2013 laboratory study investigated the effect of EGCG on human gum tissues. The study showed that EGCG triggers cells in the gums to release an antimicrobial chemical. This chemical targets Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.gingivalis), which is a type of bacteria that contributes to gum disease and halitosis.
Another type of bacteria that contributes to halitosis is Solobacterium moorei (S. moorei). A 2015 laboratory study investigated the effect of green tea extract and EGCG on S. moorei cultures.
Both green tea extract and EGCG reduced the growth of S. moorei cultures, although green tea extract showed the greatest effects. This suggests that other chemicals within green tea may also have antibacterial properties.
Both treatments also reduced the ability of S. moorei to produce chemicals that cause halitosis.
Further research is necessary to determine whether the results of these laboratory-based studies apply to the human oral environment.
Dental plaque and gum inflammation, or gingivitis, are common causes of halitosis.
A 2014 study investigated the effects of an herbal mouth rinse on plaque, gingivitis, and levels of oral bacteria. The rinse contained tea tree oil, cloves, and basil, each having antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers divided the 40 participants into two groups. Over 21 days, one group used a commercial mouth rinse, while the other used the herbal rinse.
Participants who used either rinse showed significant reductions in plaque and gingivitis. However, the herbal rinse also significantly reduced levels of bacteria in the mouth, whereas the commercial rinse did not.
These findings suggest that a mouth rinse containing tea tree oil, clove, and basil, may help to improve oral health, so reducing halitosis.
Tea Tree Oil Rinse
Certain bacteria inside the mouth excrete chemicals called volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs). These chemicals quickly turn into the gases that are responsible for bad breath.
A 2016 study suggests that tea tree oil may be effective at reducing levels of bacteria that produce VSCs.
For this study, the researchers isolated bacterial cultures of P. gingivalis and Porphyromonas endodontalis, in the laboratory. They then treated the cultures with either tea tree oil or chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is a standard antimicrobial that is common in mouthwash.
The effects of tea tree oil were similar to those of chlorhexidine. Each reduced the growth of both bacterial strains and cut VCS production.
The results of this laboratory study are promising. However, future studies will need to test the effects of tea tree oil in the human oral environment.
It is worth noting that tea tree oil produces fewer side effects than chlorhexidine. Some people may prefer to try tea tree oil as a natural alternative.
To make a tea tree oil rinse, dilute a drop of tea tree oil in a few drops of vegetable oil and put this into a cup of warm water. Swish the solution in the mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit out until you have used the entire cup of water. Avoid swallowing tea tree oil as it can be toxic if a person ingests it.
A 2017 laboratory study investigated the effects of cinnamon oil on S. moorei bacteria.
Cinnamon oil showed powerful antibacterial effects against S. moorei. It also reduced levels of the VCS hydrogen sulphide.
The researchers also found that cinnamon oil did not cause damage to human gum cells.
They concluded that adding cinnamon oil to oral hygiene products might help to control halitosis. However, further studies involving human participants are necessary to support this claim.
People should not put cinnamon essential oil near the skin without diluting it in a carrier oil first. Cinnamon is available as a food-grade oil and essential oil.
People must not swallow any essential oils.
We hope you have enjoyed reading the above article on Bad Breath and Possible Remedies. Please do not hesitate to call Luka Dental to discuss your bad breath or any oral health issue.
Article compiled by Luca.dental.
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