Imagine this scenario all too familiar to many people. You’re at an office party, or a mixer of any sort. A colleague or acquaintance comes up to talk to you. You smile, you stand up straight and you begin engaging in dialogue. Suddenly, you notice that their face has twisted into a sort of grimace. They start looking down, or to the side, and nodding repeatedly, as if to hurry the conversation along. After a couple of minutes, they excuse themselves and walk rather quickly to another part of the room.
What happened? You mull it over for a few minutes. You place your hands over your face and sigh a deep sigh. Then it dawns on you — you have a severe case of poop breath.
Bad breath, or halitosis, as it is officially known, can be highly embarrassing. It can also be a detriment to both professional and personal relationships. What makes it even more frustrating is that many people may not tell you that your breath smells. It’s a touchy subject. It may take a while for you to notice yourself, since we become accustomed to the way our mouths taste and smell.
One thing is for sure: bad breath is something you want to eradicate as swiftly as possible. To do that, first you have to find out what’s causing the foul odor.
How’s your dental hygiene?
I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss regularly. If you don’t, there’s your problem. But many people experience bad breath even when following a regular dental hygiene schedule. Just remember to change your toothbrush every couple of months. Also, take out and clean your dentures at night if you wear them. These are things that are easy to forget in the busy pace of our everyday lives.
If it’s not a lack of brushing or flossing, think back to the last time you saw a dentist. If it was more than a year ago, it may be time to make an appointment. Conditions such as plaque, tooth decay and gum disease may be contributing to your bad breath.
Could it be an underlying health condition?
If you’ve been to the dentist and it’s not a dental issue, it may be time to give your health professional a call. There are a number of conditions that may be causing mouth odor. A few include:
- Dry mouth
- Tonsil stones
- Throat conditions
- Acid reflux
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Also, taking certain medications, including insulin, may lead to stinky breath. These are things you can discuss with your medical professional.
Mind what you eat
Since gut bacterial imbalance can be a factor in bad breath, it’s important to treat your gut right. Eat a plant-based diet of whole, nutritious foods. Skip the processed stuff — really, your overall health will thank you. Make sure to eat plenty of fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, natural yogurt, kefir and fermented pickled vegetables. These foods are probiotic in nature, which helps keep your gut happy.
If you eat a lot of onions and garlic (especially raw), these could be to blame. Both onions and garlic are remarkably healthy. However, you may want to skip them right before or during an important social engagement, as they can cause some nasty mouth odors.
Natural solutions for fresh breath
Have you covered all of your dental, medical and dietary bases? Now you just need a breath freshener here and there. The following natural options can be very useful — without all of the chemicals found in breath mints and gums.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Eight to 10 glasses are key so that your mouth doesn’t dry out.
- Add a drop or two of food grade peppermint or cinnamon essential oil to a glass of water. Use to gargle. Citrus essential oils can also work well for this purpose.
- Chew on some peppermint leaves.
- Chew on some whole cardamom seeds. This is a common practice in India.
- Chew on some fennel seeds. These help to freshen your breath and are antiseptic in nature.
- Eat that parsley garnish after a meal — it can help a lot thanks to its chlorophyll content. Mint, basil and cilantro leaves and sprigs are also great to chew to freshen your breath.
- Eat some citrus fruits. These help to freshen your breath, while helping to disinfect your mouth.
- Try a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a glass of water.
- Add a bit of cayenne pepper to your beverage.
Do you have any other natural secrets to keeping your mouth smelling fresh? Please feel free to share!
– Tanya Mead