What's all the stink about?
I am a young person and I have a bothersome and embarrassing problem - bad breath. I have tried many different brands of bad breath mints, breath sprays, tongue scrapers and mouthwashes but they seem to help for only a short period of time and then it comes right back. Is it my diet? It appears to have gotten worse recently.
Mouthwashes and most bad breath products are effective against bad breath usually caused by intraoral factors.
Gargling, scraping and sucking on mints may not be effective if your problem is from an imbalance of bacteria in your intestinal tract. Our system only has four avenues of excreting toxins - our breath, our gas and the smell of our stool, and through our skin.
How healthy your digestive system is can be determined by these factors. One of the primary fuels for bad breath, according to Joseph Mercola, M.D., is sugar and grains that rapidly break down to sugar.
The negative impact of the sugar and grains is that they disrupt the microflora balance by allowing bad bacteria, fungi, and yeast to thrive and multiply, producing metabolic waste products.
When you eat these highly processed foods, they cause the bad odor-causing bacteria to grow out of control.
As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath.
The odor will not go away completely, although mouthwashes may help temporarily, until the foods have been passed through the body.
And of course, water, which helps keep your mouth moist, is most important in flushing toxins from the system.
Saliva helps cleanse the mouth, removing particles that may cause bad breath.
A condition called dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased according to Mayo Clinic.
You mentioned "recently" in your question, which makes me wonder what has changed in your lifestyle or diet that could be a factor. According to webmd.com, there are also diseases and illnesses that may cause bad breath in addition to diet.
Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, cancer, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and liver or kidney problems.
Stress and a change in medication can also be key components.
Helpful tips: Brush your teeth occasionally with baking soda, drink plenty of water, eat high fiber foods, eliminate milk and avoid oral hygiene products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: What consumes your mind-controls your life!
Next free nutrition class will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 8, at the Organic Emporium. The topic is Hot Flashes.
By Phylis Canion
Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.