Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Ayurveda Views Bad Breath

Just saying the word bad breath makes people cringe.  No one wants to have it and no one wants to smell it.  Ayurveda looks to get to the root cause of an issue, not just cover it up with mints.

From the Ayurvedic perspective, the root cause of bad breath is poor digestion and/or poor oral hygiene. The two are usually related, in that poor digestion accelerates the oral activity that leads to unappealing breath.

Some of the causes of bad breath include poor digestion, dry mouth, gum problems, tooth decay, poor oral hygiene, postnasal drip, some medications, respiratory issues and certain foods.  Today, I will focus on oral hygiene and identifying poor digestion.  When it begins in the mouth, bad breath is due mainly to sulfur-producing bacteria that live on the surface of the gums, tongue and throat. When these bacteria in the mouth break down protein, they release a sulfurous odor which causes bad breath. Improperly digested food, known as ama, coats the surfaces of the digestive tract and is the thing that allows these unhealthy bacteria to thrive.  The digestive tract begins in the mouth and travels all the way down to the colon.  Signs of poor digestion are constipation, loose stool, flatulence, acid reflux and excessive bloating

Oral hygiene and balanced digestion are the first lines of defense in keeping your breath fresh. A good technique for removing the coating from the tongue is to use a tongue scraper.  By removing the soft coating from the tongue, especially the back of the tongue, you eliminate the tongue-based bacteria that creates the malodorous sulfur compounds.  It is recommended to brush your teeth three times a day; after waking up, before going to bed, and at least once during the day after you eat.  Yes, you should floss at least once a day.  Additionally, visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and checked for cavities.  Any tooth decay can have quite an unpleasant smell.

Improving your digestion begins with eating fresh, pure food that is suited to your body type.  Second, meals should be eaten in a calm, pleasant atmosphere at regular times.  If your digestion does not improve, a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner will help.

You can still use mints and mouthwash, but getting to the root cause of your bad breath will make you healthier all the way around.

Stay healthy & well,

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