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Bad Breath

Calling bad breath by it's less derogatory and scientific moniker of halitosis does not necessarily take away the unpleasantness associated with it, and definitely does not remove, the foul odor that wafts forth from the mouths of people, whose misfortune it is to be affected by the condition. Most cases of bad breath are temporary conditions, that have the simplest causes and are usually linked to common habits and vices like: smoking and the intake of nicotine in all forms, the consumption of alcohol, and the culinary use and consumption of foodstuffs associated with strong and lingering odors, common examples are: garlic, onions, anchovies to name but a few. All of the cases cited above have a temporary presence and are easily removed by brushing one's teeth, or rinsing the mouth thoroughly and by finding herbal or herb based remedies, but in certain cases the condition assumes an unwanted permanency: that is, it becomes chronic, and such cases usually involve an underlying medical basis and cannot be tackled without a medical examination.

The multiplication of odor-causing bacteria inside the mouth causes bad breath in its most common form – other causes can be abdominal and connected to the stomach, to the infection of sinus cavities etc. This multiplication of bacteria occurs when salivary production decreases inside the mouth and hence there is a definite connection between chronic dryness in the mouth and bad breath, a drier mouth almost always means an increase in bacterial multiplication and more bad breath. A decrease in salivary production in the mouth, can thus contribute to bad breath. Other causes of low salivary production and thus bad breath can be: reduced salivary flow with advancing age, respiration through the mouth, diets with restricted food intake-production of saliva decrease with the decrease in masticatory activity (the less you chew, the lesser is the saliva), some kinds of medications and drugs can also induce the condition. Bad breath is usually common for everyone in the morning i.e. morning breath because of decreased saliva flow during sleep. Bacterial multiplication is also followed by their accumulation in cases where dental hygiene is poor, in cavities and the tongue, on food debris stuck to the tongue and teeth, on dentures etc. In such cases bad breath may be controlled through proper dental hygiene but if the bad breath persists even after all possible forms of hygiene have been undertaken than the cause of the bad breath may be chronic gum disease or sinus infection that would require different remedial measures.

Supplements and herbs

Herbal based and natural remedies that have herbs as active ingredients can combat bad breath, along with a proper dental hygiene regimen which should include thorough and regular, brushing, flossing and rinsing of the teeth preferably with paste and liquids that have herbal oils or herbs or are generally herbal based, an important place to keep clean is the back of the tongue, which is where bacteria often accumulate and the place people most often miss when cleaning their mouths. One way to cleanse this oft forgotten area of the mouth is to apply small doses or a drop or two of peppermint oil on the tongue a couple of times in the course of the day, applying a large amount of the oil at one go or ingesting it in any quantity may cause digestive problems and should be avoided. Peppermint oil is an effective bactericidal agent and as an herb based oil is both pleasant to the taste and refreshing at the same time and along with spearmint in the form of an herbal tea can help retain the moistness in the mouth and thus reduce bacterial multiplication. Drinking water and other liquids, whether herbal based or otherwise is an excellent strategy as it helps in keeping the mouth moist and thus avoids the first pitfall of dental hygiene, a dry mouth.

Chewing on herb based seeds, can also aid in the freshening of breath and overall oral hygiene: seeds of herbs like fennel, anise, and cloves aid in freshening breath and are appealing to the taste, they are also easily to take along to refresh oneself during the course of the day. Chlorophyll, rich herbs like parsley have similar effects. While also being high in chlorophyll this plant pigment is recognized as a powerful breath freshener and is present in abundance in all herbal or herb based drinks. Chlorophyll concentration is high in commercial “green drinks” like spirulina, wheat grass, chlorella, and other kinds of herbs. Herbal and herb based drinks should be swirled around the mouth in a rinsing action to be effective in cleansing the mouth, herbs like spirulina also come in tablet form which can be chewed throughout the day.

Additional things you may do

The best and the easiest way to ensure that you do not suffer from bad breath is to ensure that you spare enough time each day, by taking simple steps like brushing your teeth after meals preferably with a herb based toothpaste and flossing and thoroughly rinsing the at least once in a day. Using a soft bristled and moist toothbrush will help, avoid hard bristle's, a tongue scraper is available at some pharmacies and health-food stores and is a very useful tool to have for proper oral hygiene, your tongue is a bacterial magnet and keeping it clean is a must, alternately instead of a tongue scraper you could probably substitute a spoon and use it to scrape gently along the tongue. It is best to avoid strongly flavored foods and while this may not always be possible, it is important to rinse your mouth thoroughly after eating such foods. Avoiding the consumption of alcohol and reducing and finally quitting smoking could also be good ideas. Chronic bad breath can be controlled after the cause has been identified for example a chronic sinus infection or postnasal drip might be responsible for the bad breath. Sinuses can be cleansed regularly through irrigators that inject saline solutions into the sinuses. Thus a simple oral hygiene regimen can help you avoid most leading causes of bad breath.

Usual dosage

  • Fennel - chew fennel seeds as needed or after meals. Cloves or anise seeds can also be used. For best effect chew thoroughly.
  • Peppermint, placed on tongue 1 to 2 drops of peppermint essential oil. Peppermint tea may also help. Avoid larger amounts of peppermint oil. It can cause heartburn.
  • Spirulina, rinse your mouth with a commercial chlorophyll-rich "green" drink. Tablets can be chewed, alternatively.
  • Parsley - fresh parsley sprig can be chewed as needed. Parsley oil is used in some natural breath fresheners as a main ingredient.

For kids

Kids often have bad breath, because childhood is also a time of great culinary adventure and sweets and chocolates are high on the menu, for normal dental hygiene in kids an herbal mouthwash can be helpful where regular rinsing is needed. A simple way to make a tingly and refreshing herbal mouthwash is to start by dissolving in about 16 oz of spring water about 400 micrograms of folic acid, 80 drops of hawthorn berry extract, 80 drops of Echinacea, 10 drops of peppermint oil, and 5 drops of thyme. The child should swish and swirl this herbal mixture around in her/his mouth after brushes her or his teeth. The simple gurgling action and ingredients like the folic acid heal gum tissue and aids in the reduction of plaque and prevents plague accumulation; hawthorn berry extract acts as an astringent and helps in the repair of gum tissue; Echinacea is bactericidal; peppermint oil is refreshing and tasty freshening the mouth and leaving a tingly sensation. The best herbal or herb based toothpaste or powders are the ones that have no sugar, your choice should be the sugarless herb toothpastes, health food stores usually have sugarless pastes an example is Merfluan a baking soda-based tooth powder that comes in different flavors and is very popular in Europe. Sugar is the leading cause of dental deterioration, and should be avoided where substitutes can work. Bad breath in children can also be due to problems that come about because of improper digestion, which usually follow conditions such as stomachache, diarrhea, constipation, followed by burping and, peppermint tea in small doses after mealtime can remedy such conditions. Ginger tea is also a good alternative to peppermint as it aids in digestion.

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