Can New Mouthwashes Really Take Bad Breath Away?

bad breath, halitosis, mouth, mouthwash, mouth wash, listerine, essential oilsThe primary ingredient in a relatively new class of mouthwashes with clinical-sounding names such as TheraBreath, Oxyfresh, CloSYS and ProFresh is sodium chlorite, also known as stabilized chlorine dioxide. These rinses claim to freshen breath for up to six hours. But one independent study found that sodium chlorite rinses actually worked for anywhere from four to 42 minutes.

The products change the chemical composition of odiferous gases so they no longer smell. However, the underlying bacteria remain potent and continue producing odors.

Some mouthwashes have attempted to go further. SmartMouth uses sodium chlorite mixed with zinc chloride. The zinc ions find the bacteria that produce rancid gases, then block amino-acid receptor sites so the bacteria cannot produce gas. Another brand, Biotene, contains two enzymes that break down the biofilm and put the mouth bacteria into a healthy balance.

Even the most effective products, however, will not help people with extremely bad oral hygiene.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Halitosis (bad breath) is estimated to affect up to 50 percent of the population in varying degrees of severity, and can be a bothersome and embarrassing condition. 

It can be caused by several factors, including systemic diseases, gastrointestinal and/or upper respiratory tract disorders, and microbial metabolism from your tongue, saliva or dental plaque.  

Certain bacteria residing on your teeth or tongue surface, or in periodontal pockets are particularly odor-inducing, as are bacterial species associated with gingivitis. 

Mouthwashes are only effective against bad breath caused by intraoral factors. Gargling and swishing can’t help you much if your problem stems from an imbalance of bacteria in your intestinal tract, for example. 

Treating Bad Breath from the Inside Out 

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is far more important than most people can imagine. An imbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria here can lead to a wide variety of health problems; foul breath and body odor being some of the least problematic.  

However, if you suffer from either, I’d highly recommend limiting the primary fertilizer for the bacteria that cause bad breath and that is, you guessed it: SUGAR, and grains that rapidly break down to sugar. When you eat these highly processed foods they cause bad odor-causing bacteria to grow out of control. 

Once you have cut down the fuel that causes them to grow you can then replenish the good bacteria by taking probiotics to re-establish proper balance and health to your digestive system.  

Your body is home to about sixty to one hundred trillion bacteria, with some 500 different species of bacteria comprising that population. The ratio of good to bad bacteria is a critical measure in determining your overall health. A healthy balance is somewhere near 85 percent good, and 15 percent bad. 

One of the jobs of good bacteria is to control the growth of bad bacteria by competing for nutrition and attachment sites in your colon.

If you’re a member of my Inner Circle, you may already have received my free Special Report on probiotics, which will give you lots of in-depth information about this issue. If you’re struggling with digestive issues or bad breath, I definitely recommend you review that report if you haven’t already done so. (And if you’re not a member, you may want to consider joining in order to receive bonuses such as my monthly Special Reports.)

Of course, if you want to achieve optimal results you will want to consider using probiotics in conjunction with a healthy diet, which means increasing your intake of appropriate vegetables for your nutritional type and decreasing your intake of sugar and carbohydrates

Increasing your intake of fermented foods (such as kefir, natto or tempeh) is also recommended as they contain high amounts of natural, healthy bacteria that are essential for optimal health. 

What’s the Most Effective Mouthwash? 

By now you should know that there are just as many scientific studies showing the benefits of natural medicine as there are “proving” conventional methods, and it’s no different in this case. 

There’s quite a bit of research showing that essential oils or herbal rinses – which have been used for hundreds of years -- are very effective in reducing gingival inflammation and plaque that can contribute to bad breath, including a study from the University of Rochester Eastman Dental Center, NY, and others featured in a variety of peer-reviewed journals.  

One such study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that Streptococcus mutans (a microbe that causes dental caries) counts were reduced by more than 75 percent using an essential oil mouthwash.  Essential oil rinses were also found to be able to control bad breath for up to 3 hours by killing these and other odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. 

Another 1995 study by Nicole Didry at the College of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences in Lille, France, found that thyme oil at very small concentrations (<500 ppm) killed the pathogenic organisms responsible for tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath, and a six-month, double-blind controlled clinical study at the University of Maryland similarly found that thyme oil, peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, and eucalyptus oil dramatically improved oral hygiene. 

The essential oils most commonly used for mouthwashes and herbal rinses include: 

  • Thyme
  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus 

Folks, there’s no need to spend your hard-earned cash on harsh mouthwashes and stashes of mints that don’t address your underlying problem. By keeping your digestive system healthy, combined with an all-natural essential oil mouth rinse, bad breath should be a thing of the past.

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