Everybody knows what bad breath feels like, especially the first thing in the morning. However, when it becomes a persistent issue, it can negatively affect your social life.
But this condition is easy to fix and prevent. So, let’s dive into the different possible causes of bad breath. But before that we also need to ask a question:
What is bad breath?
Bad breath, also called halitosis, is essentially an unpleasant smell emitted from a person’s mouth. It’s a common problem, which can affect all of us, regardless of age or sex. In fact, 1 in 4 people is likely to suffer from bad breath regularly.
What are the possible causes of bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused either by problems with your dental health and hygiene or by problems with your digestive system and dietary choices. For example, persistent bad breath is the result of smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat teeth and gums. Also, if you don’t brush your teeth regularly, bits of foods caught between the teeth and on the tongue start to decay and produce an unpleasant smell. In addition, some strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can make it much worse.
As it is quite straightforward to improve dental hygiene, in this blog I will analyse the role of digestive health and diet in causing bad breath.
Poor digestion and bad breath
Efficient digestion is essential for keeping things moving in the gut. When food is broken down quickly, nutrients are absorbed and waste and toxins are removed from the body without entering the bloodstream. But if you suffer from constipation, have a sluggish digestive system or a high toxic load, your body creates an excess of gas which is also released through your mouth.
As the digestive system encompasses all the way from the mouth, right through to the anus, any digestive disorders could result in bad breath. Also, if your digestive tract is overloaded with toxins, if you have a poor diet, overuse antibiotics or have a lifestyle that creates an imbalance in your bowel flora, bad breath could just be a side effect of it. Here are some typical digestive disorders that might lie behind bad breath:
1) Bacterial imbalance in your gut: dysbiosis
Dysbiosis (also sometimes called dysbacteriosis) is a microbial imbalance that happens on or in the body; in other words, an imbalance between your friendly and harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms, such as yeast and fungi. This imbalance makes digestion less effective which results in the production of smelly gases as well as the release of toxins into the bloodstream.
2) Lack of digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes are produced in your body as well as obtained from foods like fruits and vegetables. These enzymes are essential for the efficient breakdown of food in your gut. Unfortunately, they might in short supply for a number of reasons such as:
• Stress: stress impedes all enzyme secretion.
• Aging: our production of digestive enzymes decreases as we age
• Cooking: a large percentage of the digestive enzymes in foods is destroyed by high temperature
If you don’t have enough digestive enzymes this can be the cause of bad breath as gases are built and travel through the bloodstream and to the lungs and to the breath.
3) Too much dairy in your diet
You probably already know that dairy is a highly acid-forming food, which is quite hard to digest. Unfortunately, it can also thicken mucous in the mouth and create an environment where bacteria can thrive. As a result, there will be the production of volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) in your mouth, followed by an unpleasant odour.
4) Yeast overgrowth
So many people suffer from yeast overgrowth that it has been labelled as “silent epidemic”, especially amongst women.
All of us have low levels of Candida growing in our digestive tract, so that’s not the problem. It becomes a problem only when our digestion is inefficient, and the immune system and liver aren’t functioning correctly. That’s the point when Candida starts to grow fast and thrive. When this happens, it usually doesn’t stop there and starts spreading to other parts of the body. This condition is then called systemic candidiasis.
You see, Candida is a very resilient and invasive parasite, which usually attaches itself to the intestinal wall. If you leave it without treatment it can also become a permanent resident of your internal organs. With that comes an abnormally high level of fungal organisms in the intestines which helps to increase fermentation of the carbohydrates you eat. This then produces a variety of toxins and gases that again will be released through your breath.
Simple solutions for bad breath
1. Improve your diet: avoid foods that are hard to digest (such as meat and dairy), that are going to disrupt digestion (junk food) or that are going to feed harmful micro-organisms (sugar). Instead, eat more probiotic-rich and fermented foods (kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha), which can help to support your levels of beneficial bacteria naturally.
You can also buy probiotic supplements. In 2011, a study published in the journal ‘Current Opinion in Gastroenterology’ found that probiotic supplements can help to replace odour-causing oral microbes with healthy ones without any side effects.
2. Include more raw foods in your diet: Raw fruit and vegetables contain higher levels of digestive enzymes than cooked foods. Besides, they are also rich in dietary fibre – useful for cleaning the digestive tract from waste, toxins and debris and thus keeping the digestive system healthy and regular.
3. Drink enough pure water: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath. It is so easy to remedy, but many people cannot manage to drink enough water. If you are one of them, drink a glass of warm water with lemon juice in the morning and then try to get a break to drink a cup of green tea. This will not only help you being hydrated but improves the micro-bacterial environment in your mouth!
4. Start a body cleanse and detox: If your bad breath is caused by inefficient digestion, body cleanse and detox might be the best solution for you. Remember, bad breath is often an indicator of toxic overload and a strained liver. Besides, cleansing the blood and eliminating toxins from the body can help to stimulate the lymphatic system, increase the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys and boost adrenal function.