Top 13 most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).
Dr Jonas Nunes, recognised expert in halitosis and Director of the Breath Institute, answers the most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).
12. What home remedies or natural solutions currently exist to combat halitosis?
Although I sometimes prescribe natural remedies in some very specific cases (for instance, umeboshi – a salty pickled plum from Japan – for stimulating saliva production) I general avoid this topic. Even so, I have had some patients who, after their consultation with me, have rushed out to buy special products, foods and beverages, still convinced that they get rid of their bad breath in this way.
It is really important to understand that the different types of halitosis must be identified according to their cause, and that the effectiveness of the treatment depends on whether the cause is influenced by the therapeutic agent used. The benefits of certain pleasant-smelling foods (parsley, aniseed, etc.) or even certain capsules sold in some stores do not always work for everyone, and even when they do, they rarely last for more than one hour. This is clearly neither a cure nor a treatment.
It is true that some foods can temporarily improve the state of the breath. This is mainly achieved via two mechanisms: either a food’s potential antimicrobial effect or its capacity to neutralise malodour compounds. It has been demonstrated that certain types of tea contain natural antimicrobials with some capacity to destroy oral bacteria (the most studied are green tea and Korean red ginseng tea).
An Israeli study has also found certain bacteria-inhibiting properties in coffee. However, due to the presence of other elements, overall, consuming coffee usually has a negative effect on the breath due to its dehydrating effect on the saliva and the resultant vitalisation (evaporation) of malodour gases. There are other foods with properties that are capable of neutralising sulphur compounds to a certain degree, in particular, polyphenols and enzymes such as peroxidase and polyphenoloxidase.
“If you do not know the cause of your halitosis, you should obtain a diagnosis before deciding which therapeutic agents to use”.
Foods containing these substances include certain varieties of mushroom; green tea; some raw fruits (apple, plums, kiwi, persimmon, blueberries); herbs such as parsley and basil; and vegetables like lettuce, asparagus, yams and aubergine. There are many other foods listed in non-medical sources and in a non-medical context, which lack a sufficient scientific basis. The reality is that the benefit obtained from eating these natural products is very short-lived, they do not always work and sometime can even contribute to the cause of the problem. For example, green tea can temporarily improve breath odour, but it is not a solution for halitosis. Many conditions that trigger bad breath cannot be cured with a home remedy or a natural solution or therapy.
Caution should be taken with natural and home remedies, ensuring that anxiety and eagerness to get rid of bad breath does not cloud one’s judgement. We should therefore draw attention to a second “general rule”: if a person does not know the cause of their halitosis, they must obtain a diagnosis before considering a course of treatment or determining which therapeutic agents to use (and not to frantically attempt to treat themselves, or rely on third-person testimonies or the promises of “miracle” products).
We need to understand that people suffering from problems with bad breath have already invested a great deal of time and money into finding a solution and are tired of unsuccessful attempts and therapies that do not work. The good news is that great progress has been made in science and now anyone can access professional medical treatment for halitosis.
Curing and treating halitosis
Causes and types of halitosis
Diagnosis and treatment of halitosis
Preventing and avoiding halitosis
A solution for halitosis
Know your Breath.
Did you know that you can suffer from bad breath without realising it? Many people suffer from halitosis (bad breath) on a regular basis, regardless of gender, age or social class. Furthermore, halitosis can have a profound impact on self-esteem, and can even result in discrimination and social exclusion.
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