Yes, you know it—you can tell by the way those you speak to rear back or turn their head as soon as you say something: Your breath could use some freshening up.
But are there reasons why should you worry when your breath smells as bad as sewerage?
And, just as importantly, what can you do about it (beyond skipping the garlic and anchovy pizza for lunch, that is)?
After all, it is getting kind of hard to hold every conversation from across the room!
Here is what you need to know about bad breath, its causes, and how you can safely, effectively and naturally return your conversations from across the room, to face-to-face.
What Causes Your Breath to Smell Bad?
Not all causes of bad breath are the same, nor do they all stem from a mere lack of dental hygiene.
For one, halitosis can indicate worse health problems, such as with your digestive system and gut bacteria, or with your dental health.
However, most causes have to do with such factors as alcohol consumption, smoking, or the foods you eat, which makes it a relatively easy problem to address.
For instance, bad breath can be caused by such factors as:
- Dehydration—When we don’t consume enough water, odor-causing bacteria are left behind in the mouth, rather than being washed away. This can be compounded by food also being left behind in your teeth and mouth which the bacteria feed on, leaving you with a rotten mess for those around you to smell.
Even worse? Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, which not only causes bad breath, but can lead to some serious health consequences as well.
Be sure to always keep enough water on hand, especially after consuming diuretics or after exercise, and drink enough so that your urine is never dark or tea colored; but rather, is a pale yellow-to-clear color.
- Smoking—Ready for a lecture? Good, because your smoking is going to get you one!
Not only is smoking tobacco one of the worst things you can do to your health, it can also lead to bad breath. And, this is not just because of the standard “smoker’s breath,” which is caused by smoke particles remaining in your mouth, lungs and airways, but from the chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products as well.
Smoking can also cause mouth dryness, which leads to bad breath, as well as to gum disease, tooth decay and a compromised immune system!
And no, just using a breath mint isn’t good enough—you need to stop smoking!
- Alcohol consumption—As with smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol fills your system with its residue, which can be smelled on your breath.
However, it doesn’t stop there, since alcohol is also a diuretic which can cause dry mouth, and it can wreak havoc on your intestinal flora, which are essential for healthy digestion—not to mention, clean, healthy-smelling breath!
So, curtail your consumption of booze, drink plenty of water, and consider a strong probiotic on the morning after—as well as on a regular basis.
- Unhealthy levels of gut bacteria—Your digestive system consists of ecosystems of bacteria which need to remain balanced for optimum digestion and health. And, one thing these “good” bacteria inside you do is help combat any “bad” bacteria trying to invade—which includes those which cause bad breath.
However, when your levels of good bacteria fall to below where they should be, the bad bacteria take over and load your system up with substances such as hydrogen sulfide, which is known to cause some very stinky breath.
Try consuming foods such as yogurt, kimchi, or other cultured foods which use good bacteria as a preservative—although make sure what you consume is raw, unheated, and contains “live and active cultures” for it to be effective. Consume more vegetables and learn how to make yourself a proper salad meal.
- Tooth decay and gum disease—Cavities and gum disease are usually caused by bacteria rotting away tooth enamel, entering the tooth, and continuing the infection through the root and into the gums. This leaves deep crevices in the teeth which can’t be reached with brushing and flossing and becomes a haven for bacteria and food particles to combine and fester, causing a lingering, foul stench.
Even worse? These bacteria can enter the bloodstream, which puts you at risk for heart and cardiovascular disease.
Not only does this mean that regular dental checkups and cleaning are in order, but also that you should maintain healthy levels of bacteria in your body through the consumption of cultured foods, or with a probiotic supplement.
Are There any Natural Cures for Bad Breath?
Want to go beyond brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist on a regular basis to combat your bad breath?
Try these cures:
- Chew some seeds—Seeds such as cloves, fennel or anise all have antiseptic properties which will help you guard against stinky breath. Yes, we realize that a handful of cloves may be a bit intense, but try nibbling the seeds of anise or fennel for a refreshing liquorice flavor which will have your coworkers speaking to you face-to-face again in no time!
- Get some chlorophyll—Parsley, cilantro, basil and mint are all sources of odor-neutralizing chlorophyll, and nibbling a sprig of any of them will help freshen your breath. Plus, they taste nice!
- Use some baking soda—PH balance is a factor in helping you maintain fresh breath, and swishing with a baking soda and water solution for 30-seconds or more can help maintain the PH balance of your mouth. This is also a good alternative to mouthwashes containing alcohol, which can cause dry mouth, as well as being destructive to your body’s healthy bacteria levels.
- Eat an apple—Not only will munching an apply help remove food particles from your teeth, but it also provides plenty of probiotic-loving soluble fiber to help ward off those smelly bad bacteria. However, even though an apple-a-day is rumored to keep the doctor away, you should still see your dentist.
Your Mouth, Your Health
So, while it’s easy to have a smelly mouth, it can also be easy to regain your facetime with others by making a few simple changes to your diet and your habits.
And of course, this is in addition to your daily brushing and flossing routine, as well as regular visits to your dentist.
So, put down the cigarettes, drink more water, and have some yogurt for a longer, healthier life—not to mention fewer conversations from afar!