Dragon Breath?
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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Dragon Breath?


Since my recent post about clean teeth, I have had some questions about fresh breath. Is there anything you can eat to freshen your breath?

Let’s look at the major causes of bad breath:

The major cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Sorry to be so blunt, but if people shy away while you are talking to them and seem to be holding their breath, dust off the toothbrush and especially the floss! Food particles decay inside your mouth, feeding that bacteria that eats away at the enamel. The result is bad breath!

Other causes include some serious and some not so serious illnesses: infection in your mouth, infection in the respiratory tract, dry mouth, dehydration, diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease. GERD, or gastroesophogeal reflux, can also be a major cause of bad breath. Bad breath could be a sign of serious illness, so check with your doctor if you feel that it has gotten worse (or your friends and coworkers think it is worse!) Another cause of bad breath can be a diet that is unbalanced. People who cut out carbs from their diet put themselves in a state of ketosis, a highly acidic environment which results in bad breath.

Of course, there are certain foods that cause bad breath, too. The main offenders are garlic and onions. They contain certain oils that when they are absorbed into the bloodstream can be carried to your lungs and you breathe out these fumes. Raw onions are worse than cooked, but any kind of garlic can cause bad breath. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking coffee can also lead to some pretty nasty breath, too.

What can you do?

Brush your teeth after every meal

Floss daily to remove all particles stuck between teeth

Brush your tongue

Keep yourself hydrated

Chew gum following meals (will only give fresh breath on the surface)

Choose really strong mints like Altoids

Eat a balanced diet

Eat Vitamin C containing foods to keep your gums healthy

Drink tea: it will keep you hydrated and it contains catechins that slow the growth of bacteria

Eat yogurt: Studies show that the active bacteria in yogurt may reduce levels of odor causing compounds in the mouth, such as hydrogen sulfide

Chew on some fresh parsley, mint, or even basil. These fresh herbs also get absorbed into the bloodstream and freshen breath instead of producing stinky breath.


Photo courtesy of borghal
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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