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Halitosis & Vegetarians: Causes & Solutions

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Experts estimate that bad breath is a problem for around 65% of Americans. While the symptoms can vary in strength, 40 million of these people have chronic bad breath. Various things can cause halitosis, but food and dietary habits are often the root of the problem. Find out why vegetarians are sometimes at higher risk of halitosis, and find out what you need to do to deal with the issue.

How food causes bad breath

In 90% of cases, halitosis originates in the mouth. Poor dental hygiene, tobacco products, medications and underlying medical conditions can all cause the issue, but, for many people, diet is the biggest issue. Food particles in the mouth offer a tasty food source for bacteria. These bacteria then emit sulfur compounds, leading to persistent, unpleasant odors.

Oftentimes, it is the food particles that cause the problem. Some types of food give off a strong odor, even when fresh. When your body absorbs these foods into the bloodstream, particles get into the respiratory system. As such, when you breathe out, other people will often smell the primary ingredient in your last meal. What's more, the smell of some food types can linger for days. As such, certain diets can give you permanently bad breath.

Problem foods in vegetarian diets

Around sixteen million people in the United States eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. While studies show that vegetarians are at lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, some of the most popular vegetarian foods can unfortunately cause bad breath.

Garlic is one of the worst offenders. As your body consumes garlic, your bloodstream absorbs a chemical called allyl methyl sulphide. This chemical is so powerful that you can even smell the odor through your skin, as the particles can get into your sweat. People who regularly eat garlic are sometimes unable to shed the smell.

Onions are also pretty potent. These vegetables contain an amino acid called allin. It's this chemical that makes your eyes water when you chop up the onions, so it's unsurprising that the vegetable's odor has a similar effect on other people when you breathe out.

Vegetarians and vegans will often experiment with natural foods. While these ingredients can boast many health benefits, some products can also cause odor issues. For example, fermented tea (like kombucha) is an increasingly popular beverage, but the drink can often cause an unpleasant stench that some people think smells like a rotten orange.

Tackling the issue

While onions, garlic and other vegetarian foods can cause bad breath, these ingredients will probably remain a popular part of your diet. Indeed, aside from the smell, garlic has many health-giving properties. Garlic can help beat a common cold, fights hair loss and lowers blood pressure, so your doctor would probably not recommend that you give up this smelly little ingredient.

The good news is that other foods and drinks within a vegetarian diet can help you tackle the issue. One American study found that raw apple was a particularly effective way to neutralize the smell of garlic. Scientists believe that chemicals in the apple can neutralize the enzymes that cause the garlic smell.

Lemon juice, mint and parsley were also effective odor neutralizers. Researchers recommend you use these ingredients alongside garlic to make meals less pungent. Alternatively, you can chew parsley or mint leaves after a smelly meal. Many vegetarians also benefit from ginger or lemon tea as a way to deal with bad breath.

Of course, good dental hygiene remains crucial. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and floss daily. Vegans will need to find a veggie-friendly brand of toothpaste because some of these products contain animal glycerine. What's more, a lot of mainstream products are subject to animal testing. Your dentist can probably recommend vegetarian brands or you can simply visit your local health food store.

Vegetarians generally enjoy a healthy diet, but certain foods can increase the risk of halitosis. Make sure your diet doesn't give you smelly breath and find ways to combat the smell of foods like onion and garlic. For more advice on keeping your breath fresh and healthy, go to this web-site.