Bad Breath

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Bad breath is a sign of some other underlying health problemHalitosis (bad breath) is typically caused by poor dental hygiene, gum disease as well as from a variety of sources including throat infection, improper diet, heavy metal buildup, indigestion, inadequate protein digestion, liver malfunction, postnasal drip, stress, or imbalance of normal flora in the colon. Halitosis is therefore a symptom and not a disease. The key to the cure is to find the cause and remove the causative factors.

Dental Hygiene

This is the starting point. Here are some tips:

Brush your teeth and tongue after every meal.

Replace your toothbrush every month to prevent bacteria buildup.

Use dental floss and a chlorophyll mouthwash daily. Keep your toothbrush clean. Store it in a hydrogen peroxide solution to kill germs.

Unfortunately, most commercial mouthwashes are nothing more than flavoring dye, and alcohol. While they may kill bacteria that causes bad breath, the bacteria often return in greater force and is seldom a long term solution.

Gastrointestinal Hygiene

Other than good dental hygiene by elimination of sweets, good brushing habit, and prevention of gum disease, it is important to consider the role of gastrointestinal toxins and its role in causing bad breath.

Toxins produced by unwanted bacteria and yeast in the gut can be absorbed; which can cause a significant disruption of bodily functions. Examples of such toxins include: endotoxins and exotoxins from bacteria, toxic amines, toxic derivatives from bile and many carcinogens. These toxins have been implicated in many diseases as well, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, liver disease, psoriasis, lupus, pancreatitis, allergies, asthma ,and immune disorders. Most people with poor gastrointestinal health have bad breath as one of the symptoms.

In addition, antibodies formed against microbial molecules (antigens) can “cross-react” with the body’s own cellular structure. This, in turn, causes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, diabetes and autoimmune thyroiditis.

The solution is to follow a diet rich in fiber, particularly water-soluble fibers, such as those found in vegetables, guar gum, pectin and oat bran. Fiber has the ability to eliminate toxins from the gut and promote their excretion. The replacement of healthy bacteria such as acidophilus is also helpful. Large doses of Vitamin C also have antibacterial and phagocytic effects, in addition to being a laxative. Replenishing the body with proper amounts of probiotics and digestive enzymes is also very important. Coenzyme Q10 is an excellent nutrient for gum diseases.

From a diet perspective, try to go on a five-day raw food diet, with 50% of your food raw every day. Avoid spicy food like anchovies, blue cheese, garlic, onion, pastrami, pepperoni, salami, and tuna. Beer, coffee, whisky, and wine leave residue that stick to the soft, sticky plaque on teeth and get into the digestive system. Avoid foods that can get stuck between the teeth easily such as meat, stringy vegetables and sweets.

Juice fasts are a powerful tool against bad breathGo on a juice fasting program regularly with lemon juice and water to detoxify your internal system. This is because juices, without their pulp (fiber), contain excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Vegetable juices are preferred over fruit as one is able to drink more vegetable juice than they are able to eat. For example, one can readily drink the juice of several heads of lettuce at one go but may not be able to consume the same amount of lettuce as a whole. Juices also contain good sources of antioxidants and enzymes needed for toxin cleansing and excretion. At the same time, they are easy to digest and thus can help to eradicate digestive problems. As a result, drinking juices allows the body to receive plenty of nutrients with minimal digestive action needed. Moreover, fasting on mono-juices allows the body to have sufficient time to process these juices and valuable digestive enzymes can be preserved. During fasting, a sense of well being, renewed energy, clearer thoughts and a cleaner body system can be resulted.

Sample Vegetable Juicing Program

Fruit juices are very different from vegetable juices. Fruit juices should be avoided as the high sugar content of fruit juices raises the blood sugar and insulin levels. This can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes in the long run.

Although carrot and beet are vegetables, they are high in sugar content and can raise the blood sugar level much like fruits.

Vegetable juicing is not easy. Start slowly by drinking only one or two ounces and finally up to 12 ounces each time. There should be no waves of nausea or belching.

Vegetable juices are not as pleasant-tasting as fruit juices. The beginner should begin by gulping the juice as this is probably the best way to get started. This process will ensure that the juice is in minimal contact with the taste buds.

Take some vegetables before, during or after the juicing. The chewing motion will stimulate gastric juice secretion and aid digestion. It is also important to do some chewing during juicing.

As vegetable juicing is not a natural phenomenon in modern day society, the body will need some time to adapt. It is important to pay heed to your body’s signals about which of the vegetable juices to consume and which types to continue in small amounts.

The pulp is one of the best parts of the juice although its palatability leaves much to be desired. It adds bulk and fiber to your diet and helps bowel movements. Try mixing 10 percent of the pulp back into the juice and slowly increase the amount in accordance with your tolerance level. Very few people can consume all the pulp juice as it is quite thick and would look like a bowl of porridge instead of a glass of juice.

All vegetable juices should be consumed immediately. Vegetable juice is one of the most perishable foods. Do not keep for more than 24 hours. Storage is tricky. Oxidation should be prevented. If you have to keep the juice, put it in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the brim to minimize air space. The oxygen in the air (remember air contains 20 per cent oxygen) will “oxidize” and damage the juice. Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light, which will also damage the juice and then store it in the refrigerator. The juice should be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to consumption, as it should ideally be consumed at room temperature.

The beginner should start with celery, fennel (anise) and cucumbers. These vegetables may not be the most nutritious but at least they are more tolerable and palatable than others.

Once the beginner is used to the taste of vegetable juices, other recommended vegetables include spinach, cabbage, bok choy, endive and lettuce.

Herbs can also be added to juices such as parsley and cilantro.

The advanced juicer should try Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens and Mustard Greens as these vegetables are very beneficial. These greens are quite bitter tasting, although they are good for you.

To make your juice more palatable, you can also add small quantities of carrots and beets. These vegetables are relatively high in sugar content as compared to their green leafy counterparts. Coconut is another option to improve the taste of vegetable juices. They are also a good source of fat to balance the meal.

Beginner Juice Recipe

CARROT JUICE: High in antioxidant: beta-carotene and full of wonder enzymes.

CELERY JUICE: High in sodium– not the artificial version but the natural kind that promotes tissue flexibility.

BEET JUICE: Beets nourish the liver which one of the most important organs in the body as it is responsible for hundreds of different functions. If your liver is functioning well, your body is likely to be in optimal health.

CABBAGE JUICE. Cabbage juice is high in Vitamin C.

Blend the above vegetables in a juicer and consume it immediately. Beets and carrots are higher in calorie content than cabbage and celery. Do not consume carrot and beet juices if you have a history of sugar imbalance.

Simple 24 Hour Juice Fasting Detoxification Program

Drinking water adequately is important to combat bad breathJuice fasting enables the digestive system to rest and also speeds up the growth of new cells, which in turn promotes healing. A person on a juice fast should abstain from solid foods and drink fruit and vegetable juices, water and herbal teas throughout the day. While vegetable juices are superior to fruit juices on a day-to-day basis, fruit juices are often recommended in part during a fasting program. Calories from the sugar in the fruit juice is needed to avoid hypoglycemia. The fasting period varies from person to person although every half-hour to an hour is the norm. Frequent juicing will supply the body with adequate amounts of energy throughout the day. Drink at least four 8 to 12 glasses of water everyday during the fast. Avoid coffee, bottled, canned or frozen juice (primarily sugar) and soft drinks. Unsweetened herbal teas are acceptable.

The night before: consume a simple dinner with a green leafy salad. Dry brush your skin before you go to bed to open your pores for the night’s cleansing eliminations.

On rising: one glass of two freshly squeezed lemon juice. One tablespoon of maple syrup and 8-oz of pure water at room temperature (filtered but not distilled) .

Midmorning: one glass of cranberry juice from concentrate to promote bowel movement.
Lunch: one glass of fresh apple juice.

Mid-afternoon: one cup of herbal tea.

Dinner: One glass of papaya /pineapple juice to enhance enzyme production or another glass of apple juice.

Before bed: one cup of mint tea, miso soup or hot water for relaxation.

Next morning: break your fast with fresh fruits and yogurt. Consume light, raw foods during the day and a simple, low fat dinner.

The same plan can be extended over the weekend for a three-day detoxification

Bad breath normally signifies an underlying health problem, so a check-up with your physician is also recommended if the above does not improve the condition.

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