Reader’s Question: I’ve been battling bad breath for a while. My teeth were rotten, so I got them all pulled, but I still have halitosis. What can I do or take to remedy this problem?
Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: We all get bad breath every now and then – usually because of something that we’ve put into our mouths. Whether it was garlic and onions, coffee, or tobacco smoke, usually it will pass once you’ve given your mouth a good once-over with a toothbrush, floss, and some mouthwash.
But bad breath that persists – despite all those efforts – could be a sign of something more serious going on. Called halitosis, it might not just be a matter of inadequate dental hygiene.
Whenever one of my patients has got “morning mouth” that lasts all day, I start to investigate whether it could be caused by a hidden infection.
Odor coming from the mouth is associated with anything from sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses to kidney disease. As well, there’s the enigma known as Laryngopharyngeal Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or LERD, for short), which I share with my readers in the upcoming May issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter.
At its core, LERD is rooted in how your body processes, digests, and breaks down food – and when something goes wrong at any of those stages, it can cause a dry mouth, a bad taste in your mouth, and bad breath.
There are some folk remedies that can calm your stomach acid down – like aloe vera – and that can make your mouth feel a little fresher – like mint or lavender – but treating the symptoms is really just putting a band-aid on the issue.
Once you stop using them… and once you no longer have a mint or a piece of gum in your mouth… the “dragon breath” lingers.
A doctor well-versed in integrative medicine is best-equipped to do a full workup and explore the potential root causes of bad breath.
In the meantime, eating fennel seeds, ginger, and parsley have all shown to tame the fires in your stomach and your mouth.
It’s always a good idea to drink plenty of water – which can help “flush” out any secret infections – and to take a daily probiotic to restore a healthy balance in your gut bacteria.
What would you like to know but have been afraid to ask? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I may answer your question next.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing