Halitosis or bad breath is used to describe noticeable unpleasant smell exhaled while breathing. Millions of bacteria live in the mouth, particularly on the back of the tongue.
Though, primarily, bad breath is a result of inadequate oral care, it can also stem from indigestion, constipation, nose or throat infection, dry mouth, metabolism disorders and improper diet. Some types of bad breath such as the ‘morning mouth’ are considered to be fairly normal. This occurs because of changes in your mouth while you sleep. But bad breath can also be caused by a build up of plaque, infected gums, poor oral hygiene, improper brushing and flossing, which allows bits of food to stay and decay inside the mouth.
Infections in the mouth (Periodontal gum disease) may be related to certain nutritional deficiencies, respiratory tract infections (throat, sinus or lung infections). The main reason for bad breath is consumption of certain foods with odour, alcohol and smoking.
Other medical conditions like diabetes, carcinomas, trimethyaminuria (fish-malodour syndrome), GERD (gastro-esophagal reflux disease), hiatal hernia, tonsillitis also cause bad breath.
Diet to fight bad breath
Increase water intake (at least 10-12 glasses per day)
Try a cleansing juice fast for three days to clear the body.
Coriander, peppermint,eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom are all good for fighting bad breath.
Eat berries, citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich foods .
Curd has always been used to combat yeast infections and anaerobic bacterial infections.
Reduce animal proteins as these are often improperly digested, leaving by-products on which harmful, odour-producing micro-organisms feed.
Eat raw vegetables and fruits that are rich in digestive enzymes and fiber. Chew on carrots, celery sticks, cucumber or fresh fruits.
Natural mouth fresheners like fennel seeds (saunf), or cinnamon sticks. Peppermint candies, mint leaves or sugar-free chewing gum are also recommended.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre. Email your health queries to email@example.com