Cacogeusia or an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and halitosis or bad breath, occur mostly due to bacterial growth in the gap between the teeth and on tongue. It may also develop due to certain bodily disorders such as severe lung infections, liver or kidney failure, diabetic ketoacidosis or diseases of the digestive tract. Bad breath is mostly perceived early in the morning on waking up, when you are hungry, on a diet, or after eating onions, garlic or curries.
Natural Cures For Bad Breath
Halitosis or bad breath is usually a consequence of poor oral hygiene, infections of gums, nose and throat,starvation, smoking, some foods, dry mouth, or medicines...
Secretion Of Saliva
The parotid, submandibular, sublingual and many small buccal glands have their openings in our mouth, and secrete between 800-1500 ml of saliva daily. Saliva contains two major types of protein secretions, that include the following :
- A serous or watery secretion, containing the enzyme ptylin, that is meant for digesting starches in the food.
- A sticky mucus secretion, containing mucin for lubricating purposes.
The parotid gland secretions are thin, watery and serous type, while the submandibular and sublingual glands secrete both serous fluid and mucus.Saliva has a pH between 6.0-7.4. It also contains large quantities of potassium and bicarbonate ions.
Functions Of Saliva
Under normal circumstances, around 0.5 ml of saliva, almost entirely of the mucus type, is secreted every minute, except during sleep, when the secretion becomes very scanty. This secretion has an important role to play in maintaining oral health. The mouth is loaded with harmful bacteria that can cause destruction and dental caries. However, saliva helps prevent the deteriorating process in several ways, which include the following :
- The flow of saliva itself helps wash away the harmful bacteria, as well as the food particles that support their growth.
- Saliva also contains certain protective factors that can destroy the pathogenic bacteria. These include thiocyanate ions and the enzyme lysozyme.
- Saliva often contains significant amounts of protein antibodies that can destroy harmful bacteria in the mouth, including those that cause dental caries.
Since the flow of saliva is markedly reduced during sleep, so a reduced cleaning action allows bacteria to grow and cause bad breath early morning. Chewing of food causes increased salivation, so when you are not eating (being on a fast) saliva secretion reduces, causing a bacterial build up.
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Common Causes Of Bad Breath
- Infections of mouth - Acute and chronic gum disease, dental abscess and dry socket.
- Diseases of nose - Sinusitis, foreign body in the nose, or tumor.
- Salivary gland disorders causing dry mouth - Sjogren's syndrome, radiation damage.
- Psychological causes - Depression, anxiety, psychosis and hypochondriasis (feeling as if you have some disease when actually you are in good health).
- Certain foods - Onion, garlic and curries.
- Respiratory tract infections or cancer
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Diabetic ketosis
- Digestive tract diseases
- Other causes - Smoking, medicines that cause dry mouth, alcohol.
Natural Remedies To Reduce Bad Breath
- Cinnamon : An essential oil extracted from this spice has antiseptic properties. It naturally reduces bacterial load in the saliva. To make a natural mouth wash, you can boil 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder in 1 liter of water. To add more flavor, mix cardamom powder and a few bay leaves to this concoction. strain this mixture and cool it. This solution can be used on a regular basis as a gargle. Do not add excess of ingredients, as these spices have an astringent quality and excess can cause mouth ulcers.
- Lemon juice : Citric acid present in lemon juice prevents bacterial growth in the mouth. Dilute 1 tablespoon of this juice with a cupful of water, and swish it around your mouth. You can add a small pinch of salt to it to enhance the antiseptic effects.
- Tea tree oil : Add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to your regular toothpaste and brush with it. To prepare a natural gargle solution, mix a drop each of tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil to a glass of water, and rinse your mouth daily with it, for a cool fresh breath.
- Baking soda : This can work as a perfect antiseptic. Add one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. To this, add a drop of peppermint oil. Use it as a mouthwash on regular basis.
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Tips To Avoid Bad Breath
- Keep you mouth moist. Drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum, to increase the secretion of saliva.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Avoid food items and drinks that can cause bad breath such as onion and garlic based foods.
- Eat at regular intervals. Do not skip meals.
- Eat low fat diet with plenty of fruits and raw vegetables.
- Eat less meat.
- Chew parsley or mint leaves.
- Chew a few pieces of clove, aniseeds, or fennel seeds after a heavy meal, to avoid bacterial growth.
- Chew a piece of orange or lemon rind as a mouth freshener.
- Brush your teeth every time you eat something and floss twice a day.
- Replace your toothbrush when the bristles appear worn out or every 3 months, whichever happens earlier.
- Use a tongue scraper or a tongue cleaner.
- If you wear dentures remove them at night, and clean them regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
- Visit a dentist every six months.
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