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Alternative Healing

Breaking Free of Bad Breath

Simple changes in routine and diet can help you rid yourself or a loved one from chronic or occasional halitosis.

By Cathi Stack ND

We’ve all had it, and we are likely to have it again, but some individuals suffer from it on a continual basis. Bad breath, otherwise know as halitosis, is estimated to affect up to 50 percent of the population in varying degrees.

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of conditions, including poor oral hygiene, oral abscesses and gingivitis, which can harbor odor-inducing bacteria that may cause bad breath. Flossing daily, brushing at least twice daily and eating raw fruits and vegetables can improve this situation. However, most people suffering from bad breath have issues that lie far deeper than the oral cavity.

A study in the “Journal of Medical Microbiology” suggests H. pylori, a bacteria found in the stomach that can cause chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, can be an underlying cause of bad breath. Another frequent correlation is chronic constipation, as chronically constipated people typically suffer from candida and or an abundance of unhealthy bacteria in relation to friendly, health-promoting bacteria.

This type of bad breath is often not helped by gum or mouthwash. Other causes may be related to upper respiratory infections. Bronchitis, sinusitis and even a cold, can break down tissue, starting a flow of cells and mucus that feed bacteria and create foul odors. Uncontrolled diabetes, anemia, kidney disease, liver disease and excessive alcohol consumption are also contributing factors, and medications such as antidepressants and diuretics can dry the mouth, predisposing the individual to bad breath.

Diet is also another factor to consider, as those who have tried the carbohydrate restricting Atkins’s diet know all too well. Here bad breath is associated with a high protein intake and ketoacidosis. Also, people who ingest large quantities of dairy or sugar are more prone to “yeasty” type odors, and those who skip breakfast set themselves up for bad-breath potential.

However, if you or a loved one suffers from chronic bad breath, there are some remedies that may be helpful:

— Brush with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide containing toothpaste. These two ingredients make it difficult for bacteria to grow.

— Alleviate constipation through diet and supplementation. Cape Aloe is a very safe, gentle and effective stool-softening agent.

— Probiotic (healthy bacteria) supplements will help create an environment that minimizes foulsmelling bacteria.

— Supplements such as Chlorofresh contain chlorophyll that helps to deodorize the body from the inside out.

— Minimize refined carbohydrate and sugar consumption. Bad, odor-causing bacteria flourish in this environment.

— Parsley, mint leaves, lemon and avocado all have breath-improving benefits. Individuals who eat greens such as spinach, kale, beet greens and wheatgrass, or include green supplements in their daily diet, are not likely to suffer from halitosis.

— All-natural mouthwashes (no fluoride) that contain essential oils such as peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus and wintergreen are far more effective than commercial mouthwashes.

Overall, I’ll stick to my guns and say you are what you eat, digest and hold on to. People who have two bowel movements per day rarely suffer from bad breath. By keeping your digestive system healthy and eating a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, you will make bad breath a thing of the past.

Catherine (Cathi) Stack is owner, facilitator and Doctor of Naturopathy at Journey II Health LLC, established in 2007 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Along with her naturopathic practice at Journey II Health, Stack continues to work at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She loves sharing her knowledge with her patients, co-workers, friends and readers. She currently writes for a variety of publications, which include her Sunday column in the Niagara Gazette. She can be reached via e-mail at journeyiihealth@gmail.com or visit her Web site, www.journeyiihealth.com