Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics for Bad Breath: A Complete Natural Prescription
Bad breath is another fine example of how the body has a limited number of ways respond to an infinite number of “insults” or problems. The conventional wisdom is that it’s caused by something in the mouth- poor hygiene, for example. But just as skin blemishes are only sometimes systemic, bad breath only sometimes comes from the mouth.
A great deal of bad breath actually originates in the gut. Poor digestion is a frequent culprit. Enter digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes that contain hydrochloric acid (HC1) would probably benefit most people over forty regardless of whether they have bad breath. Not only do they address some of the causes of bad breath at the root but they also help us break down and use protein, which can become a lot more difficult for people over forty. Many folks don’t make sufficient HC1 to adequately break down protein and other foods, so a capsule that combines digestive enzymes and HC1 is highly recommended.
Many holistic physicians and health practitioners have recently written about the myriad health problems associated with low stomach acid. Bad breath, bloating, gas, and even fatigue are among the many symptoms of low stomach acid, which HC1 can help.
A great way to determine how much HC1 you need is this: Take one HC1 capsule before a big meal. At the next big meal, take two capsules, and at the third big meal take three capsules, and so on. Continue to do this until you feel a warming sensation in your stomach. Then back off one capsule, and that is the dosage you need to help you with digestion.
Gut health depends on the proper balance of bacteria, so if you suspect digestive problems are at the root of bad breath, a good probiotic supplement acidophilus and/or Bifidus is a great idea. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) a particularly healthy form of non-digestible carbohydrates are sometimes included in such formulations because they act as food for the “good bugs.”
A Diet for Bad Breath
When gut ecology is properly balanced between the “good” and the “bad” bacteria, it’s like having a garden that’s overgrown with weeds. The weeds, in this case, are bacteria like Candida albicans (yeast), which can cause all sorts of health problems, not the least of which is really bad breath. Oil of oregano capsules is a great way to kill the little buggers. You also want to starve them. Since they live on sugar, an “anti-yeast” diet something like the early stages of the Atkins Diet, with no sugar, bread, pasta, rice, cereal, or even fruit for a couple of weeks is just the ticket. Protein, vegetables, and good fat are the way to go. Activated charcoal is another great supplement that can help with odours and even toxins originating in the gut. It may also sweeten your breath. Chlorophyll is nature’s deodorizer and, according to some naturopaths, a great blood purifier, meaning it helps support detoxification. The popular breath-freshening gum Clorets capitalized on this connection between chlorophyll and deodorizing, but truth be told, chlorophyll packs a powerful wallop. Some practitioners recommend taking a few capsules or tablets on an empty stomach to support gut health and detoxification. And more fibre in your diet always a good idea promotes the elimination of toxins from the body. Since highly processed foods loaded with bad fats and sugar can contribute to digestive problems (and to bad breath), the more whole foods you can incorporate into your diet the better. I’ve long been an advocate of daily, fresh-made vegetable and fruit juice (see The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth). Vegetables and fruits also help balance the system by providing a nice alkaline balance to our highly acidic, overly processed standard American diet. Alternately, some of the “green drinks” now found in health food supermarkets are a great choice and accomplish some of the same things. These drinks frequently contain nice doses of chlorophyll-containing grasses.
Natural Prescription for Bad Breath
- Digestive enzymes: 1 or 2 with every meal
- Probiotics: 1 or 2, three times a day or as directed. You can also take the powdered form with water.
- Charcoal tablets in between meals: Activated charcoal absorbs toxins and is a natural purifier. (Take it with plenty of water, and not at the same time as nutritional supplements or meditations, as it may theoretically interfere with absorption.)
- Hydrogen peroxide: Gargling and rinsing with hydrogen peroxide has been found to be terrific for many people.
- Oil of oregano: 2 capsules, three times a day
- Green drinks: Daily
Note: All dosages are daily dosages and in pill or capsule form unless otherwise noted.
Natural Breath Mints
In addition to the above recommendations, herbs and spices can sweeten your breath. Try the following.
Parsley and mint. Chewing parsley or mint leaves has been a natural remedy for thousands of years. These herbs are especially good if garlic and onions are the sources of your bad breath. Parsley is very high in chlorophyll. Try chewing a few parsley sprigs dipped in vinegar for immediate relief. If you swallow the leaves after chewing them they will be digested and continue to provide fresh breath for a while. These plants seem to reduce the production of intestinal gas by promoting better digestion.
Peelu is a natural twig fortified with minerals that help clean the teeth and other inhibitors that prevent gums from bleeding. It also has cleaning agents that kill microbes and germs and a scent that makes breath naturally fresh. Peelu is an ideal brush that has been naturally endowed with more breath-freshening, mouth-cleaning compounds than any artificially made toothpaste.
Finally, herbs like coriander, ginger, cumin, and fennel are helpful. Indian restaurants usually provide a little bowl of fennel seeds for customers. Chewing on them freshens the breath in the nicest and most natural way.