Struggling with Bad Breath?

Okay . . . just admit it . . . do you have bad breath? Have you tried brushing your teeth more frequently, fancy mouthwashes, and even rinsing your mouth with salt, but you find that you are still struggling with bad breath? Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, can be difficult to manage until you get to the root cause. And yes, it can be awkward in social scenarios. This troublesome condition can be caused by many things, but one study may have discovered a unique fix: fiber! 

It is estimated that 25% of people are plagued with bad breath at some point in their lives, so it’s no surprise that ongoing studies are trying to determine the causes and potential cures for this affliction. In one study, researchers wanted to determine whether there would be a difference in bad breath after subjects ate a low or high fiber meal. The study measured the breath of 20 subjects after randomizing their consumption of either a low or a high fiber meal. Tests were taken over a period of two and a half hours after eating the meal. To determine whether halitosis was present, they measured volatile sulfur compounds in their breath. Participants were also asked to provide their feedback about their own breath! 

This study determined that the high fiber meal led to a greater reduction of oral halitosis compared to the control meal (low fiber). The researchers concluded that the high fiber meal meant that participants had to chew the food more thoroughly. Essentially, they realized that this allowed the participants’ saliva to break down the food better, thus cleaning more of the “bad breath” compounds. At least, that was their theory.  

Another possibility is that the nitrate-containing agents in vegetables of the high-fiber meal actually helped improved circulation to the gums and provided an anti-inflammatory effect, thus lessening “bad breath” compounds. Another study used lettuce juice to determine the impact of higher amounts of dietary nitrate (lettuce contains a lot of this) on halitosis. Researchers determined that after two weeks, participants in the lettuce-drinking group saw significant improvements in their bad breath.  

It’s no surprise that what’s good for the body (high-fiber, high nutrient foods) is also good for the health of your mouth and breath. If you’re struggling with bad breath, try swapping some low fiber foods (such as dairy, meat, chicken) for higher fiber ones (such as more fruits, vegetables and legumes) to see how you fare. Additionally, drinking plenty of water is important for mouth health as well, since it allows your body to produce adequate saliva to keep your mouth moist (which can also help reduce mouth odor). Another important procedure to treat bad breath is regular brushing and flossing of your teeth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.  

These helpful tips just might help clear your bad breath so you don’t have to suffer those awkward stinky scenarios anymore!