Bad Breath? Help for Chronic Halitosis.


Holistic Living Blog

by Dr. Rachelle Tetreault DAOM, L,Ac

          Bad breath can happen to each of us after eating certain foods especially with sulfur compounds like garlic or onions. However, when it is persistent it can then signify something much greater. The first most important thing to rule out is gum disease or tooth decay in which a holistic dentist would be recommended. Once this is ruled out and regular flossing and brushing does not improve bad breath then it is quite possible the halitosis is derived from a toxic body system.

A poor functioning digestive system accompanied by a poor diet leads to an accumulation of toxins within the body. This often results in chronic halitosis and may accompany constipation in some individuals. The inability to have a proper bowel movement every day will lead to toxin build up rather quickly. These toxins basically poison the bowels, and the body tries to release them during exhalation or every time one breathes out. Other possibilities can be an infection of the tonsils or sinuses. These often result in foul breath.

Some mercury fillings which were popular at one time in dentistry can also decay and create issues. The over usage of antibiotics destroys our good flora in our mouth which leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria leading to halitosis. Other root causes may include sleep apnea, mouth breathing at night, kidney disease, diabetes, and  it is also noted in liver failure.

In Eastern Medicine the root causes are termed in different categories. Foul breath with excessive hunger reveals stomach heat. This is often found in individuals who are obese and have both digestive and metabolic disorders. An herbal formula at this time is often used to both clear stomach heat, cleanse the bowels, and even detoxify residual toxins. This makes it easier to lose weight and stomach heat will no longer be an issue. Certain acupuncture points are used to speed up metabolism for weight loss as well as food therapy to help expedite this progress.

For excess heat throughout the body accompanied by chronic bad breath is considered heat in all three jiaos (upper, middle, and lower). This is seen with inflammatory conditions or infectious diseases with fever. Herbal formulas are given to safely clear heat, purge fire, eliminate toxins, but yet efficiently nourish yin and tonify blood. Acupuncture points are selected specifically to treat heat in the body throughout the yin and yang organs to release both fire and toxins.

Halitosis combined with a dry mouth can signify both lung and stomach yin deficiencies. This calls for nourishment of fluids in the body. A replenishment of body fluids is needed and to harmonize both the middle jiao spleen and stomach meridians. This treatment has a general hepatoprotective and detoxification effect. This pattern is often seen in consumptive disorders.

If bitter taste and a short temper exists, this is very common with liver fire as the root cause. A throat infection is considered a toxic heat accumulation and must be treated to fully clear heat in both head and upper jiao of the body meaning lungs and heart (chest).

It is vital to build up a healthy immune system. Adequate rest is needed for full recovery. Both smoking and drinking weakens the immune system.  Increase the intake of nourishing, cooling foods and roots. These include Mexican yam, yams, potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabaga, cucumbers and many others. Avoid spicy or pungent foods like wasabi, pepper, or chili peppers. For active gum disease, it is important to take coenzyme Q10. The dosage should be  200mg daily. Rosemary and peppermint teas make a very effective mouthwash.

Other recommendations for chronic halitosis include chlorophyll. Take a teaspoonful of a liquid dose following meals. Foods like alfalfa, spirulina, and chlorella are rich sources of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll acts by both targeting and eliminating toxins and bacteria. Five drops of a liquid parsley extract will help freshen the breath following meals. Probiotics, especially one with at least 4 billion organisms, will help prevent bacteria overgrowth. This will also help improve both digestion and elimination.

Digestive enzymes are beneficial to optimize the breakdown and absorption of food. The primary ones include protease to digest protein, amylase to digest carbohydrates and lipase to digest fats. Bitter herbs that are used in Eastern Medicine herbology are recommended like gentian to improve overall digestive function. This would especially be effective in cases where liver fire is running rampant.

Commercial mouthwashes can irritate the mouth’s soft tissues and can create even more bacterial growth. It is better to use a homemade mouthwash of both essential oils mixed with water. These may include clove and peppermint.  It is recommended to brush after every meal and floss before bedtime. A holistic dentist will need to be seen for regular check-ups to help remove plaque and tartar and to check for any early signs of tooth decay. Here’s to fresh breath and a healthy body without toxins. Call today for your assessment and treatment to establish a journey to optimal health. 772-353-1397