Many people struggle with funky breath, often resorting to harsh chemical filled artificial mouth washes or toothpastes hoping to end their stinky mouth woes. Unfortunately those methods only mask the smell and sometimes even make it worse!
Mouthwash & antibacterial toothpaste are like napalm for your mouth
Modern mouthwash is usually made of alcohol, various chemicals and mint 'flavor'. That strong minty astringent feeling you get after rinsing may make you think your mouth is clean but it is not only killing the bacteria that cause bad breath, it kills all the bacteria in your mouth, even the good guys we need to maintain good oral health.
Much in the same way taking antibiotics is bad for your gut bacteria, scientist are learning that using anti-bacterial oral care products are detrimental for your mouth's health as well. You see these good bacteria in our mouth act like our very own oral care army and when we kill them off there is no one to stop the bad guys from running amok. On top of that, some of the ingredients in toothpaste FEED the stinky breath bacteria by causing irritation of your gums. Alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan all cause oral irritation, causing stinky bacteria to multiply.
So how can we combat bad breath naturally?
1. Floss, no really just do it!
We all know we should floss but many of us don't do often enough. Flossing is a very important part of oral care. Due to our modern diets many of us have crowded, gapped or uneven teeth leaving lots of great hiding places for food to get stuck and rot. This leads not only to bad breath but gum disease, tartar, cavities and poor health. Think about that, if you don't floss you have food rotting in your mouth right now... have you ever smelt an old garbage disposal? Gross right? Well that is similar to what is going on in your mouth: time, water, rotten food and a nice warm bacteria friendly environment. If you don't believe us, go floss and sniff the white junk the plunks out on your floss. If that smell doesn't convince you to floss more often no amount of oral hygiene reasoning will. Remember, other humans kiss you! Be nice to them and floss regularly.
2. Drop the mouthwash and chemical warfare toothpaste
As we mentioned above, modern mouthwash is full of chemicals. You may know this intellectually but let us introduce you to a few.
- Chlorhexidine - usually found in prescription mouthwashes, a Swedish study found that this ingredient cause a potential 7% raise in cardio vascular disease. Prolonged use can stain teeth.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate - Known as SLS, this chemical is found in both mouthwash and toothpaste. When processed it can become contaminated with dioxane and the environmental working group has over 16,000 studies linking SLS to organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption and more. SLS causes tissue in the mouth to die and peal off, dehydrating and causing cell damage that can lead to increased ulcers and canker sores.
- Triclosan - Does double duty as both a blanket antibacterial (kills the good guys and the bad) and is also used as an insecticide. It has been found to disrupt functioning of the thyroid gland, It helps to create drug resistant bacteria strains, disrupts muscle functioning, it poisons aquatic animals and recently has been linked to an increase in food allergies in children. It penetrates the skin very easily and in one study was found in the urine of 75% of adults tested.
There is no reason to be putting any of these chemicals in our mouths twice a day every day. Even mainstream doctors agree that antibacterial soaps and personal care products are no more effective than their old fashioned cousin but are definitely more irritating to delicate gums. Switching to a natural toothpaste like our Dirt toothbrushing powder will help your mouth recover from years of chemical warfare.
3. Use an herbal mouth rinse or try oil pulling.
Many people may need a little extra help soothing a sore mouth from years of harsh oral care and can become discouraged when their new healthy efforts don't work right away. Remember, it took you this long to upset your mouth it will take a while to calm it back down again. As they say, Rome was not built in a day. Using an herbal mouth rinse may help you transition from your old alcohol based rinse to your new lifestyle.
Make your own! Mix the following
- 1c clean filtered water
- 4 tbs baking soda
- 4 drops of either Clove, Peppermint or Tea tree oil (we recommend clove)
- a pinch of sea salt.
- Optionally you can add 1/4th tsp of powdered myhhr gum resin if available.
Mix and use 1-2 tbs as a rinse. It will be slightly salty, If you simply must have a sweeter mouth rinse leave out the salt and add in a clean dextrose-free stevia extract.
Oil pulling has been use in Ayurvedic traditions for hundreds of years. Many dentists we talk to are dumbfounded by the improved gums they see in patients who practice oil pulling. It is traditionally believed to detoxify the body, cure about 30 diseases and more. There have been no scientific studies done to prove those claims but science has shown that oil pulling kills harmful bacteria, reduces plaque and moisturizes the oral tissue. Many people use coconut oil but traditionally sesame oil was used. Simply use 1-2 tablespoons of either oil, swish around your mouth for 15-20 minutes then spit. You can add the same essential oils to your oil pulling routine as you would your herbal mouth rinse if you would like, just remember essential oils should NEVER exceed 2% of the total oil you are using!
4. Reduce putrefaction of the tongue and reduce the need for over spiced food.
We all know that we should avoid garlic or onion while on a hot date, no one likes a garlic wrapped kiss. Many of us, especially in the US are taught to brush and floss but no one ever tells you how to take care of your tastebuds! What do your tastebuds have to do with fresh breath? Well if your sense of taste is muted you are more likely to use excessive amount of spices and aromatic herbs in your food. You may also be more likely to want to eat strongly flavored processed foods which lead to poor oral health and increased chance of halitosis.
So how do we refresh our tastebuds? Easy, scrape (don't brush) your tongue! The average tongue sports a white filmy sweater of putrefying stuffs that clog up our taste buds, a recent study found that after only 2 weeks of using a tongue scraper sense of taste improved in all participants. When we can properly taste our food we learn to enjoy it as nature intended, with minimal processing and appropriate seasoning. This leads to better oral health and long term improvements in fresh breath.
5. Scrape your tongue daily.
Called Jihwa Prakshalana in Ayurvedic traditions, tongue scraping has been used for thousands of years to improve oral health. It substantially reduces the amount of film on the tongue and reduces morning breath over time. If you've never tried tongue scraping you will be amazed at how much more funk you can get off your tongue versus brushing alone. Scientific studies have shown that tongue scraping reduces malodor of the mouth without use of any chemicals or additive. Tongue scrapers come in many forms, The Dirt's naturally anti-microbial tongue scraper is made of heavy grade, pure 100% copper. It is the finest copper tongue scraper around and will last you for years!
We want you to try the awesome experience of a clean tongue. Now is your chance to get our 100% pure copper, naturally antimicrobial tongue scraper. Click here to go to the product page. We are confident you won't find a better copper tongue scraper anywhere!
That's it! with a proper oral care regimen most people will notice improved fresh breath! If you still have issues with severe bad breath after 30 days of your new routine you may have an underlying problem with diet or heath and should consult a dentist or your doctor for more help. Happy mouths make happy people.