Bad breath, or halitosis, is not only embarrassing, but it can also be an early sign of health problems. While most of us experience some sort of `morning breath,` it is estimated that 14-25% of Americans suffer from chronic bad breath that continues throughout the day. Americans spent $6.7 billion on artificially toxic mouth freshening products in 2007. Natural herbs provide a much safer and healthier approach to treating bad breath.
Bad breath can be caused by a number of different issues such as constipation, diabetes, liver problems, etc. The most common causes in the oral cavity include gum diseases, lack of hydration, low salivary pH, eating pungent foods (onions/garlic), and excessive oral bacteria. An individual should contemplate each of these causative factors when attempting to address and rid themselves of this problem.
The most commonly used breath freshening products include mouthwash, chewing gum and mints. These products are widely marketed on television and in grocery/drug stores. Although all of these have the ability to cover up bad breath for temporary periods of time, they also contain toxic ingredients that can push the body into states of infection that create chronic halitosis.
Mouthwash is one of the most widely used personal hygiene products. Most consumers are unaware of the chemical toxins present in the majority of commercial mouthwashes. These mouthwash products contain 26% ethanol, which is more than a glass of wine. Scientists have demonstrated that the alcohol in mouthwash reacts in the mouth to create a highly carcinogenic by-product called acetylaldehyde.
The overuse of mouthwash is linked in several studies to oral bacterial infections, tooth decay and cancers of the mouth. The alcohol in the mouthwash is known to cause ‘dry mouth’ which allows bacterial overgrowth. The solvent properties of alcohol can dissolve fillings. This increases exposure to mercury vapour from amalgam fillings and xenoestrogenic phthalates from composite fillings. Additionally, the alcohol stains teeth and damages the tooth enamel setting up an environment for accelerated tooth decay.
Many individuals also like to use sugar-free gums and mint flavored candies to improve their breath. Unfortunately, these products are loaded with artificial flavorings and preservatives that are both neurotoxic and carcinogenic. It is strongly advised to avoid these products. Any sort of breath mint should be flavored with only stevia or xylitol and contain no preservatives of any kind.
The first step to good oral health is optimal hydration with a purified water source. Additionally, a diet low in sugar and rich in phytonutrients and anti-oxidants plays a very important role. Certain natural herbs contain aromatic phytonutrients that alkalize the salivary contents and bring a rich, clean smell to the breath. These herbs may also bring an array of anti-oxidants, trace minerals, electrolytes, and chlorophyll to the body.
Fennel seeds provide a very strong, pleasant odor to your breath. They are loaded with anti-oxidants and help ease gas and bloating in the intestinal system. Fennel seeds immediately alkalize the saliva which naturally prevents the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Additionally, these small, dry seeds are very easy to carry with you while traveling.
Dill, mint and parsley are loaded with chlorophyll and vitamin C which are both great for cleansing and purifying the body. Much like fennel, these herbs immediately alkalize the saliva which naturally prevents the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Additionally, these garnishes have a great ability to neutralize the powerful odor of garlic and onions.
Fresh cloves steeped in warm, purified water make a terrific natural anti-bacterial mouthwash that destroys bacteria and freshens breath. Clove contains an anti-oxidant `eugenol` that has incredible anti-inflammatory properties scientists are just beginning to understand.