1. What is the cause of bad breath?
There are two types of bad breath; transient bad breath
and chronic bad breath (or chronic halitosis). As the names imply, transient bad breath is a temporary, self-correcting condition while chronic bad breath indicates a more severe imbalance in the body. Medical science hasn’t yet tracked down every single cause of bad breath so you may have to do a little self-troubleshooting.
Transient bad breath
Transient bad breath is usually very temporary and lasts only as long as it’s causative factor. Some of the most common causes of transient bad breath are:
- Recently eaten foods such as: onions, garlic, dairy products, alcohol and high-sugar foods. A mouth coated in sugar is a welcome environment for breath-corrupting bacteria.
- Poor oral hygiene. Bacterias that cause bad breath are often present in the mouth, but a lack of proper cleaning can allow their numbers to increase to smellable proportions.
- Bodily imbalances caused by dehydration, stress, smoking, certain drugs and poor nutrition.
- A state of Ketosis often results in bad breath when one eats more protein than the body can process.
Chronic bad breath
Chronic bad breath is most often caused by bacteria or gum disease. There are some clinics that can perform specialized testing to determine which strain of bacteria is causing the bad breath and then prescribe a personalized treatment. Chronic halitosis can also be caused by certain drugs and medical conditions. If you have a case of bad breath that just won’t quit, have a dental exam as well as a physical.
2. Bad breath remedies
If you can identify the source, do something about it.
Correctable causes of bad breath:
- Dehydration. If you’re urine is dark, you’re dehydrated.
- Diet. Try temporarily avoiding onions, garlic, dairy products, alcohol, and acidic beverages like coffee and OJ to attempt to lessen the stink.
- Hygiene. Are you brushing at least once a day? Are you being thorough? Add mouthwash and begin brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth and see if that helps. Brush after every meal if you must.
- Dieting. On a diet? Take a break for one or two days and see if the breath-stench ceases.
- Prescription medication. I don’t recommend not taking your med’s, but maybe talk to your doctor or search the web for the name of your medicine and the phrase “Bad breath” in quotes to see if there is a commonly known link.
- Poor nutrition. What is your ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat? How many refined carbohydrates (sugars and flours) have you been eating lately? Keep carbs around 50% and don’t let either fat or protein dominate the other 50%.
Home remedies for bad breath:
- Hydrogen peroxide rinse – diluted to a 1.5% solution (with water) and gargled but not swallowed.
- Chewing fresh parsley. Buy it at your supermarket or grow it yourself.
- Drink unsweetened green tea.
- Brush your teeth or use some mouthwash.
- Use a tongue brush or scraper. Don’t have one? A small spoon can be substituted.
- Bad breath products (mouthwashes, sprays, gums, mints and pills).
- Mouth rinses containing chlorhexidine, zinc gluconate, and chlorine dioxide.
- Increasing saliva by chewing something without sugar or gently pressing on your tongue with your teeth to mimic the action of chewing.
3. Pets with bad breath
Animals tend to get bad breath for many of the same reasons people do. The most common cause is tooth and gum problems. If your animal develops a fierce case of halitosis, take a trip to the vet. Failing that, dog bad breath treatments as well as cat bad breath treatments are available in the following forms:
- Pet toothpastes
- Pet mouthwashes and sprays
- Dental cleanings (by a vet)