What is Bad Breath?
Bad breath, scientifically known as Halitosis, is when one person’s breath smells foul, often due to some underlying condition or situation. For some, this is because there is some form of system toxicity, likely residing in the mouth, intestine, or colon. Less commonly, bad breath is a symptom of chronic malabsorption or indigestion. If your digestive system is slow or weak, your food may begin to ferment inside the intestinal tract leading to the creation of ama, which has an unpleasant smell.
Go to a mirror and stick out your tongue. If the back part has a coating, that’s a strong suggestion that ama may have developed. As a result, you may have bad breath. Ayurveda suggests that it’s easiest to target the ama and destroy the root cause of the condition. Continue reading to find out how to destroy the root cause.
What are the Symptoms of Bad Breath?
Typical: Depending on the underlying reason, the strength and smell of bad breath odors tend to vary. Some people worry when their breath actually has no smell and vice versa where some have bad breath and don’t even know. It is difficult to assess your own bad breath, so ask a relative or close friend to check your breath situation.
What are the Causes of Bad Breath?
- Food: Leftover food from meals can leave small food particles around your teeth, which often attract bacteria. As a result, you may experience bad breath. In addition, certain foods such as but not limited to, spices, garlic, and onions may cause bad breath. Even after you consumed these bad-smelling foods, your body digests them and they enter the bloodstream, which is carried to the lungs and creating bad breath.
- Tobacco Products: Smoking tobacco products will create a distinct and foul-smelling mouth odor. Oral tobacco users and smokers increase their chances of getting gum disease by smoking, which is another way to have bad breath. Lastly, smoking damages your lungs and leaves a foul smell that can remain for long after one stops smoking.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: Those that don’t brush their teeth or floss regularly are more prone to having bad breath because the food particles stay in your mouth leading to the creation of bacteria, and therefore bad breath. Plaque, a colorless sticky film made of bacteria often forms after consuming sugary items or after periods of not brushing your teeth. If not fully brushed away, it can lead to permanent teeth and gum damage. Additionally, your tongue can house bacteria on the top, so be sure to clean it while brushing your teeth.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva is a vital tool for maintaining oral health and avoiding bad breath. Those that struggle from dry mouth, a condition where one struggles to produce saliva, are more likely to have bad breath because saliva removes the particles and bacteria that create bad breath. Dry mouth, scientifically known as xerostomia, also naturally occurs during rest, leading to some having “morning breath,” which is typically worse for those that sleep with their mouth open. Be sure to brush your teeth every morning to eliminate your “morning breath.” Lastly, some may have a chronic dry mouth which will make long-term saliva production difficult, making bad breath a symptom. Consult your doctor if you think you may have chronic dry mouth.
- Medications: Some medications have a side-effect of dry mouth which can lead to bad breath. Others have chemicals that, once broken down, are carried to the lungs and then create bad breath. Additionally, bad breath can be a result of tooth decay, gum disease, post-oral surgery, or mouth sores.
When to see a Doctor?
The cause of the majority of bad breath cases is poor oral hygiene habits. If you are still experiencing bad breath, contact your dentist. If your dentist is worried that a more serious condition is causing your bad breath, they will likely refer you to a physician to find the cause of the odor.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Bad Breath
- Eating Habits: Avoid eating heavy meals, cold drinks, ice cream, cheese, and yogurt because those foods slow digestion which will likely increase ama.
- Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums: Practice good oral habits by brushing your teeth both morning and night for two (2) minutes each and using dental floss. If your bad breath persists, try cleaning your teeth after every meal with an Ayurvedic toothpaste that contains neem.
- Yoga Postures: For combatting breath, try yoga postures such as the Mudra, the Lion Pose, and the Lotus Posture with a forward bend.
Common Ayurvedic Remedies for Bad Breath
- After lunch and dinner, chew a single teaspoon of roasted fennel and cumin seeds that are mixed half and half. This will help to detoxify the colon, therefore improving digestion.
- Drink ½ cup of aloe vera juice twice a day until freshness is restored to the breath.
- Slowly chewing one or two cardamom seeds also helps to minimize bad breath. Cardamom aids digestion and helps to reduce ama.
- After eating a meal, try cumin–coriander–fennel tea (equal proportions) as a digestive aid. Use about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of each Ayurvedic herb in a cup of hot water.
- Add ginger (which acts as an enzyme to activate your saliva) to lemon juice to create an at-home mouthwash.
Preventative Ayurvedic Herbs: