Bad Breath / Halitosis
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Bad Breath / Halitosis Info
"You must cross the river first, before you tell the crocodile he has bad breath”
Halitosis or bad breath occurs when unpleasant odours are exhaled during breathing. Interestingly, halitosis is estimated to be the third most frequent reason for seeking dental aid, following tooth decay and periodontal disease.
In 90% of cases bad breath originates in the mouth.
The intensity of bad breath differs during the day, due to eating certain foods (such as garlic, onions, meat, fish, and cheese), alcohol consumption and smoking. When the mouth is exposed to less oxygen and is inactive during the night, the odour is usually worse upon awakening ("morning breath"). It may be transient, often disappearing following eating, brushing one's teeth, flossing, or rinsing with mouthwash.
Bad breath may also be persistent (chronic bad breath), which is a more serious condition, affecting one in four people, to varying degrees.
Interestingly from an etymologic point of view, halitosis derives from the Latin halitus, meaning 'breath', with the Greek suffix ‘osis’ often used to describe a medical condition, e.g., "cirrhosis of the liver". Bad breath is not, however, a modern affliction. Records have been discovered that mention bad breath, dating back to 1550 B.C. So it's been with our species for quite some time.
A mouthwash of wine and herbs was once the standard way of treating the condition. Though for better or worse, it isn’t the standard anymore.
Constipation is one of the first things to check for and treat with halitosis. Poor bowel elimination is going to affect your breath, because your mouth and bowel are connected, being different parts of the same alimentary canal.
To varying degrees, the tongue, mouth, gums, nose, oesophagus, tonsils and even stomach can all equally contribute to bad breath. Never forget that your mouth is host to some 600 different species of bacteria- some of them have no smell whilst others produce foul smells. When left on the tongue or mouth for some time, the anaerobic respiration of certain bacteria can yield the putrescent smell of "rotten eggs" (smell of volatile sulphur compounds).
Gum disease, poor digestion & gut putrefaction, constipation are major contributing factors.
Both the tongue and mouth should be cleaned regularly. The problem may also come from bacteria lining the gut wall- if this is the case then you could benefit from taking supplements containing ‘friendly bacteria’ (e.g. Primadophilus reuteri) which help outcompete the harmful bacteria causing the smell.
However if the bad smell persists, there are other natural health treatments available that you may benefit from. Most of these involve mouth hygiene though some agents, such as ginger tea, are known to help from a systemic perspective.
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