Bad breath apart from being a root cause of public awkwardness and social discomfort could also be a symptom of an underlying disorder (unless proved otherwise). The common cause for persistent unpleasant odour from the breath is either poor oral hygiene resulting in a buildup of bacteria around the teeth, gums and on the tongue. Or maybe due to health problems because of unhealthy lifestyle habits or both. Bad breath is commonly called as ‘HALITOSIS’ and can also be made worse by eating certain foods with a strong odour. It should be remembered that bad breath is more of a symptom than an independent disease.

PS:- Since the mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract, thus it could be the other way around, i.e. bad breath could be due to weak digestion and accumulation of resulting toxins, thus it is rightly said that: ‘tongue is the mirror of the digestive system’.

CAUSES:

Bad breath-Causes
  • Poor digestion, poor oral hygiene.
  • Improper cleaning of the dentures.
  • Gum disease.
  • Poorly fitting dentures, cavities.
  • Yeast infection of the mouth.
  • Dehydration resulting in dry mouth.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Dieting, fasting, alcohol-substance abuse.
  • Diseases like diabetes, respiratory tract infections [RTIs], kidney/liver disease.
  • Chronic sinus infection, post nasal drip, acid reflux.
  • Certain medications [pain killers, blood thinners] and foods like ginger, onions.

DIETARY REGIMEN:-

Bad breath-Dietary Regimen
  • Pathya [wholesome diet]: lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, spinach, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, kidney beans, green leafy vegetables, fennel, cardamom, dill, cumin, carrots, chickpea, almonds, lentils, green beans, zinc and magnesium supplements.
  • Apathya [unwholesome]: Avoid  garlic, onions, fish, spicy food, coffee, carbonated drinks, soybeans, eggs, legumes, sunflower seeds, oats, cabbage, asparagus, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, corn, seafood, brazil nuts, lean beef and lamb, goat/sheep/buffalo milk,  beer, custard, ice cream, honey, mango, watermelon, apple, pears

PS:-  Always Consult your Dentist prior to opting for the dietary regime since one a particular symptom might be aggravating the systemic problem.

MANAGEMENT:

Bad breath-management
  • Regular brushing in the morning and at night before going to bed is recommended, but also make sure at the same time cleansing of the tongue with a good tongue scraper is also essential.
  • Change your toothbrush, every 2-3 months, or one can use neem twigs for brushing since their caustic and antimicrobic nature can help break plaque in the mouth. [Commonly used folklore remedy].
  • Keep away from strong and fast/rapid brushing, instead use soft bristle toothbrush to brush mildly, if on brushing gums start bleeding then instead you can rinse with saline warm water.
  • Avoid solid diet and snacks which can cause harm like sour foods, chips, very hot drinks, carbonated acid water, sticky chocolates, and sweets.
  • Keep yourself hydrated, as dryness of mouth [as in dehydration] does cause bad breath.
  • Reduce carbohydrate intake [i.e. food with high sugar content] and also get rid of eating snacks between main meal(s), you can chew sugarless gum or east sugarless candy.
  • Rinse and splash with mouth fresheners or mouth wash more often.  [Opt for natural breath fresheners like mint, cloves, saltwater, apple cider vinegar, fennel seeds, pineapple, and parsley.
  • Avoid alcohol-containing mouthwashes which can aggravate the problem of bad breath, also refrain from smoking, caffeine products.
  • Visit your Dentist regularly, or at least once in 6 months for plaque removal. [flossing twice a day helps remove plaque]
  • Avoid tobacco/betel nut chewing and smoking.
  • Use vitamin supplements in case of deficiency, like bleeding gums, tooth decay, enamel problem. [ vitamin A,C,D,K]
  • Consume a well balanced nutritious diet with proper chewing of the food and make sure to brush away the food particles in the mouth after every meal.

            PS:- If tartar is present, it will not be detached by brushing, refer the patient to the Dentist for scaling.

  • Gargle with saline warm water after every meal. [After half an hour].

HOME REMEDIES:-

Remedy I

Camphor-Home-Remedy

Take Shwet Manjan (WHITE TOOTHPASTE) and add shudra sfatika [purified alum] 1gm, saindhava [rock salt] 1/2 gm karpoor  [camphor] 1gm, maricha churna [ pepper powder] 2gm. It can also be used as substitute for toothpaste available in the market.

Remedy II

Use khadiradi vati as lozenges.

Remedy III

Keep mustadi vati in mouth [at bed time].

Remedy IV

In gum swelling, make a decoction of jaggery and when lukewarm, gargling with the liquid helps in reducing gum swelling.

Remedy V

Potash alum-Home Remedy

Mix 250 gm potash alum with 25 gm gairik [red ochre] and using it as toothpaste helps in bleeding gums, pus formation, hypersensitive teeth and removal of plaque from the teeth’s.

Remedy VI

Dried Herbs-Home-Remedy

Useful herbal medicine(s) which are available with local medicine shops and are used by people as single or in compound form. Include turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mint, asafetida, black pepper, dried powdered ginger, methi [fenugreek leaves], cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg that enhance digestion and metabolism, and help with digestive issues.

Remedy VII

Herbs like mimusps elengi, catechu, cloves, alum, chikni supari, madiphala [citron fruit], manjishtha [rubia cordifolia], pashanbhed [bergenia ligulata], vaividang [embelia ribes], samudraphena [cuttle fish bone], vajradanti [porcupine flower, sarjikshar [mixture of potassium salts], kulanjana [alpinia galangal], are usually used locally in the form of powder, toothpaste or mouth wash.

Remedy VIII

Medicines like Dashan sanskar churna, irimedadi taila, Himalaya dental cream, Oro-T mouth rinse, and gum tone tooth powder by Charaka Pharmacy, Patanjali Danta Kanti, Vicco vajradanti toothpaste and powder are available in grocery stores and online also.

Remedy IX

G32 tablet by Alarsin Pharmacy for gum and oral cavity massage is time tested and evidence-based Medicine [EBM] available in the market. And branded toothpaste available in stores are nowhere near the efficacy and results given by this formulation.

Use: prior to using the tablet, gargle with lukewarm water, thereafter take 2 tablets and crush into a fine powder, massage the powder over gums, teeth, tongue and palate for minimum 5 minutes. Let it remain for another 10 minutes, afterwards gargle with normal tap water. Repeat two to three times a day.

PS:- All the management and remedies described above can take care of your problem temporarily or permanent. However, if the problem persists despite following all or most of the recommended guidelines it is wise to have an appointment with a Dentist for any underlying Dental problem. Or you can even consult a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner who can identify any associated medical problem or if everything seems normal can prescribe you the best herbal toothpaste or herbal medicine to correct your problem.

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Dr Munish Sood

Dr Munish Sood

B.A.M.S, MD (Ayu) Kayachikitsa
He is an Ayurveda Specialist with working experience of almost 18 years as: Sr. Consultant cum Physician (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, JNANI Hospital: (An Undertaking of Tibetan Craft Community, Tashijong, Kangra), Paprola. Consulting (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, DTIL Hospital, Chimbalhaar, Palampur. Sr. Medical Officer, Simla Sanitarium & Hospital, Himachal Pradesh. Assistant Professor & Medical Officer, SUDAC & Hospital, Hoshiarpur.