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Nutrition and bad breath: We are what we eat


Supplementation of nutrients is recommended when a person does not consume the full required intake of 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Nutrition is the process by which living things use food to obtain nutrients for energy, growth, development, and maintenance of body cells.

Nutrients are biochemical substances that are supplied to our bodies from the food that we eat. These nutrients are water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. All of these nutrients are essential, including fats. All nutrients must be taken in moderation. These substances will then provide us with energy, heal our bodies, and help us to repair broken cells and tissues. As we learn about how the body functions, we are realizing that, in addition to the major nutrients, there are many micronutrients called phytochemicals that contribute to well being in ways that we do not yet fully understand.

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Transient bad breath – What you had for lunch

It’s common knowledge that eating certain foods such as garlic, onions, or curry will result in temporary oral malodor – breath that is unpleasant to others. Why does this happen? Since your body can’t easily absorb oils in onions, garlic, and spices, their sulfurous odors may remain detectable in your mouth air for days in spite of brushing. In this case, those who add flossing between the teeth and cleaning the tongue and the use of antimicrobial rinses will suffer less. Overall health is an important factor as well.

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Halitosis - Chronic bad breath

Some people have a genetic disposition for the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in their mouths. This is a condition that most often causes chronically malodorous breath. Since every person’s bacterial imbalance is unique, successful treatment requires detailed microbiological assessment and a personalized solution based on the precise nature of the imbalance. Oravital® Clinics have an extremely high success rate treating even very serious bad breath problems using this procedure.

Generally speaking, treatments neutralize the offending bacteria, but must be applied regularly to be continually effective. The patient’s systemic health is a significant factor in assessment and will make a difference in the long-term effectiveness of treatment.


How does nutrition affect bad breath?

The condition of a person’s overall health, especially the health of oral tissues, can make a big difference in both the degree of initial oral malodor and how quickly those tissues respond to treatment. Bacterial infection or overpopulation in the mouth can affect the entire body if oral health is less than optimum and the immune system is weak.

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Antioxidants versus free radicals

Eating 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily is a very good way to keep your cells healthy … and this includes the cells that make up the tissues of the mouth. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cranberries, red bell peppers, tomatoes, and spinach, are rich in protective antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Antioxidants help protect our cells from damage created by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are natural biological byproducts, often short-lived forms of oxygen or carbon compounds that are missing an electron. These free radicals can be a result of metabolism or they can be formed by the immune system to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms. Additionally, they can be formed by the microorganisms themselves in the form of toxins. Because they cause a reaction much like the chain reaction in polymerization chemistry, they can cause much cell damage.

An antioxidant has the ability to step between a compound seeking electrons (the free radical) and normal body cells. By donating electrons to this compound, the antioxidant will neutralize it and thus protect that part of the cell from attack and damage. There are numerous antioxidants available in the body such as Vitamins A, C and E, selenium, beta carotene, and lycopene. Some antioxidants can become radicals when they donate an electron. Other antioxidants with different properties join in and stop the reaction. When we have infections such as bad breath or even when we exercise, our production of free radicals increases and more antioxidants are needed to neutralize them.


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates

For a healthy body and a healthy immune system, it is necessary to have all types of antioxidants present. This means that we have to pay very careful attention to our diets.

Many of the nutrients present in our foods are developed from raw materials found in the soil where the food is grown. The time of harvesting the fruit or vegetable also determines the amount of nutrients present since nutrient density develops with growth. Unfortunately, many of our products are grown in soil that has been overused. As well, in order to reach the grocery stores in edible condition, many fruits and vegetables are harvested before they ripen. These conditions decrease the nutrients that are available to the consumer.

Foods grown organically are a healthier alternative, but for a majority of people the higher cost of such foods is a deterrent. Urban dwellers have limited or no opportunity to grow their own healthy foods. The increased availability and popularity of inexpensive fast food and other processed foods means that fewer meals with adequate nutrients are consumed.

We now have an increasingly unhealthy population, the result of a far lower average nutrient intake than that of two generations ago.

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Supplementation of nutrients is recommended when a person does not consume the full required intake of 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Supplements may especially be needed during winter seasons when local sun-ripened products are not available and our fruits and vegetables are imported from other countries (and are harvested before all the nutrients are fully developed).

The most effective vitamin and mineral supplements are those that are made from the nutrients found in plants and easily absorbed by the body. These premium products have a much greater benefit than store brands (which use cheaper and less effective synthetic ingredients) but are more difficult to find. 

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