Top 5 Causes of Bad Breath

Having bad breath flat out stinks; both literally and figuratively.  It’s not something that we talk about publicly, but it’s on our minds at random times throughout the day.  Think about it.  How many times do we look for a piece of gum or a breath mint?  How many times do you do the ‘breath test’ by breathing into your hands and taking a sniff?  When you’re talking with someone, how many times do we think in the back of our minds, “I wonder if my breath smells”?

For most of us, it isn’t a HUGE problem, but it is something that is a concern at some level.  The ADA estimates that 75% of people in the US suffer from bad breath at varying degrees at some point.  The causes of bad breath can vary.  Understanding why we have it can help with preventing and/or lessening its effects during the day.  Here are the top 5 reasons why your breath can go south.

1) Bacteria – The number one cause of bad breath is bacteria.  There is an average of 600 different types of oral bacteria in a person’s mouth.  They live in relative harmony with our bodies and serve several important functions.  One of them is as a means to prevent more harmful microbials from taking root in our mouths.  Like any living organism, in order to survive they must eat  As they eat they release compounds that have smell.  This is what causes breath odor.

Brushing, flossing and general oral care helps to reduce these effects, but they will never eliminate it completely.  Things like gum or mints help to temporarily reduce the problem, but these are generally not long term solutions.

2) Food – What we eat can also be a source of bad breath.  Foods contain all types of compounds, nutrients, vitamins and other essential goodies.  However, one downside is that certain compounds in certain foods tend to have a strong odor; in fact they are similar to the same compounds produced by the oral bacteria; weird isn’t it?  Things like garlic, onions, meat, beans, eggs, and spicy food have high amounts of what are called sulfide compounds.  They tend to have an odor similar to rotting eggs.  As food gets digested in the body, these compounds are released and absorbed into the body, eventually making their way out through our skin, sweat, mouth and other openings.

3) Sugar – Ah sweets.  We love it, but we’re always told that it’ll rot your teeth.  Well, it will also cause bad breath.  By default our mouth is set at a balanced acidity level or pH level.  Sugar changes the pH balance of the mouth.  When this happens it creates an environment which allows them to grow more rapidly.  More bacteria means more odor compounds being produced, which of course means more bad breath for you.

4) Alcohol – You might think that drinking a nice cocktail is actually good for your breath because alcohol kills bacteria.  Well, not quite.  Drinking presents two issues.  First, alcohol dries your mouth.   Saliva works like a natural mouth wash.  It helps to rinse away bacteria and food particles, as well as control bacterial growth.  Alcohol reduces saliva production and thus you lose the benefits of saliva on bacteria.  In addition, alcoholic beverages often contain a lot of sugar.  As we know, sugar affects your mouth’s acidity which in turn affects bacteria.

5) Smoking – Cigarettes and cigars also reduce saliva production.  Not to mention it leaves a burnt, astray smell that lingers.

Quick Tips For A Healthier Living

Finding ways to incorporate healthier methods of living in our everyday lives can be a huge benefit.  It improves the quality of life, makes you feel better and is a good investment for long term health.  People often think that it’s too big of a sacrifice to give up some of the finer or more convenient things in life, or that is costs more.  The truth is that there are many things that you can do that are healthier lifestyle practices and don’t drastically alter your everyday life.

Walk Don’t Drive – Whether at work or school, we all need to eat lunch.  Often times we drive to our favorite eateries.  Why not just put on your walking shoes and explore what is around your area.  Most business locations and schools are near a food establishment.  The extra 5 or 10 minute walk each day will help to boost your heart rate and get those muscles moving.

Filtered Water – A lot of people are drinking bottled water, however that isn’t necessarily better than tap.  Bottle watered can contain harmful plastics and other chemicals.  Using a filter for your faucet or even a disposable filters are great alternatives for clean drinking water.

Natural Deodorants – Popular deodorant brands can contain harmful chemicals such as aluminum chlorohydrate and parabens.  Switching to a natural deodorant such as those made by Tom’s Of Maine, Burt’s Bees or Lavanila, or even an internal deodorant such as chlorophyllin supplements will keep your body free of those potentially damaging ingredients.

Try The Stairs – Elevators and great, but be honest, you don’t always need to take them.  If you’re only traveling a few stories up, try taking the stairs on occasion.  It’s great exercise and a quick, easy way to get the blood flowing.


Does Chlorophyll Reduce Body Odor?

I have seen several articles that say chlorophyll works great for body odor and I’ve seen articles that say the opposite.  With so much information, It can be confusing at times to know what is right and what is misinformation.  We’ll try to clear the air on the subject and answer once and for all; does chlorophyll reduce body odor.

The short answer is no, but it’s not quite that simple.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment used by plants to convert sunlight into energy.  By nature, chlorophyll is fat soluble and therefore has a limited bioavailability to humans.  In lamens terms this means it has a hard time getting absorbed into the body.

Chlorophyllin on the other hand has been scientifically shown to have the ability to reduce body odor.  No, they are not the same thing.  Similar, but not the same.  Chlorophyllin is actually a water soluble derivative of chlorophyll.  The process by which this occurs involves replacing a single magnesium molecule with a copper one.  While the rest of the structure remains the same, this single change allows chlorophyllin to be soluble in water and thus easily absorbed into the human body.

There have been several arguments used to counter the claim that chlorophyllin is effective at reducing body odor.  The most notable one is a quote by John Kephart, a researcher at The National Chlorophyll and Chemical Company.  He went on to say:

No deodorant  effect can possibly occur from the quantities of chlorophyll put in products  such as gum, foot powder, cough drops, etc. To be effective, large doses must be  given internally” [Journal of Ecological Botany 9:3, 1955].

On the surface it seems like a plausible statement from someone who works directly with the subject at hand.  However, if we dig deeper we can see a few things that raise a few questions.

Kephart does not deny it is effective, but rather mentions that the quantities contained in commercial products at that time were not sufficient enough to be effective.  In fact, he goes on to say that in order for chlorophyllin to be effective, large doses must be given internally.  He confirms that it does work on odor.   This is true.  chlorophyllin content in products such as gum, drops, powders, etc at that time where indeed insufficient for any type of deodorization to take place.

The other side of the argument helps to answer a few questions.  In the 1950s, a doctor by the name of Howard Franklin Westcott did a study on chlorophyllin and it’s effectiveness on reducing odor.  Using volunteers from the hospital, he had them not shower and use chlorophyllin.  He used an osmoscope to test body odor severity.  His findings noted that with the use of chlorophyllin, body odor was reduced by half or completely.  He also noted that between 100-300mg of chlorophyllin per day was sufficient enough a quantity to provide odor relief for a period of up to 36 hours.

In a study done in 1989 by  Christiansen SB, Byel SR, Stromsted H, Stenderup JK, Eickhoff JH. [Can chlorophyll reduce fecal odor in colostomy patients?], it was noted that 75mg of chlorophyllin had no effect on odor reduction.

Taking these two studies in conjunction with Kephart’s findings, we can accurately conclude that chlorophyllin does in fact work to reduce body odor, however at least 100mg per day are required.  Anything less will not yield any results.  The most efficient way to achieve these quantities are through chlorophyll supplement products.

Further studies that support chlorophyllins ability to reduce odor can be found here.




Finding a Safe, Healthy Deodorant

There are stories linking breast cancer and deodorant use which has many people concerned, but should you be?  The study most people reference dealt with breast cancer patients who had samples taken of their tumors.  It revealed that there were build ups of aluminum based compounds and parabens… both of which are found in common roll-on deodorant brands.

The study went on to say that other factors were not considered including other products used, diet and family history.  The hoopla around this arose due to the belief that because these women shaved their underarms, that would account for the body absorption and explain the build up found in the tumors.

Ultimately there is no clear answer as to whether or not common odor roll-ons are dangerous after prolonged use.  However, the question that needs to be asked is, are you willing to take that risk?

Finding a good aluminum free deodorant can be difficult.  There are a few, but are they reliable, are they effective, do they stop odor just as good as the mainstream stuff?  The answers are undoubtebly, yes.  Aluminum is primarily used to plug sweat pores.  Parabens are used for viscosity.  These things are easily supplemented by natural ingredients.

Another option is chlorophyll based products.  Chlorophyll is taken straight from nature and posseses the ability to absorb odor compounds in humans.  In a way, it’s like nature’s deodorant.