Health

Bad breath? Check the foods you eat

Fuelling Your Body

BY FITZ-GEORGE
RATTRAY

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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YOUR first level of dental care does not begin with brushing or flossing, it begins with the food you chose to eat.

It's interesting that when anthropologists are analysing what our ancient ancestors ate, they study the remains of their teeth. One simple observation could be made based on the decay or wear of the teeth — when they observe remains with wear, but no decay, they conclude that their diet consisted of meat and bones and was low in sugars. With signs of mild to extreme tooth decay, anthropologists know immediately that their diet was composed of fruits and other sugary foods.

Cavities are best known issue but sugar can cause other things

Tooth decay

Sugars dissolve teeth; we often hear of sugar causing cavities, but cavities are only the result.

The presence of sugary foods and drinks in our diet feed ever-present bacteria, which, when digesting and fermenting, sugars secrete lactic acid that literally dissolve irreplaceable calcium in your teeth — this process begins to take place rapidly.

I should note here that even “healthy” fruits and fruit juices have enough sugars to dissolve teeth. Sugar-free carbonated drinks contain enough sugar and acids to also dissolve teeth through erosion.

Tooth damage, without the involvement of bacteria and acidity, weakens the protective action of your saliva, making any sugar decay more drastic.

Yellow teeth

Not all yellowing is caused by pigments involved in extrinsic staining from food and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking coffee, red wine or eating dark foods, sauces, et cetera.

When sugar dissolves the white enamel of your teeth, it can become so thin that the underlying yellow dentine begins to be seen, giving your teeth a yellow or brownish appearance.

The erosion caused by sugar can also create a rough surface, making it easier for the pigments mentioned above to stain your teeth.

Translucent or see-through teeth

With extreme enamel wear, the thinning can become so severe that teeth can appear almost translucent, dull and unhealthy, as a result of losing its natural shine.

Uneven edges:

As your enamel dissolves, areas along the edge of the teeth may dissolve unevenly, creating jagged edges, ridges, cracks, and weak areas which have an increased likelihood of breaking.

Sugar can cause other issues

Bad breath

We are all aware that foods such as garlic and onions, as well as health issues such as ketoacidosis (from low-carb diets or fasting), diabetes, sinusitis, stuffy nose, and gum disease can cause bad breath.

There are several foods for which the digestive process produces an unpleasant odour by accelerating the population and activity of bacteria in the mouth. These include sugary drinks, candy, alcohol, and coffee.

Sugary drinks and foods are, as always, culpable.

Candy and sweets are clear culprits, but even sugary gum and mint candies often used to freshen breath, in the long run, create a cycle of sugar use for freshening and refreshing — all the while masking the real potential damage being done. The fresh flavour cannot counter the effects of the sugar.

Alcohol and coffee have a drying effect and reduces your breath-freshening saliva, allowing even more pungent bacteria population and activity.

Mouthwash and morning breath

Mouthwash: Incredibly, some mouthwashes will make your mouth feel fresh for a while, but contain alcohol and ingredients which can dry out your mouth — negating the helpful effects of your saliva. Try to find mouthwashes without alcohol and use sparingly, perhaps before a big date.

Morning breath: Several people living the InteKai lifestyle, who have eliminated processed sugars and refined carbohydrates from their diet, have reported waking up with breath as fresh as when they went to sleep.

Maintain and improve your dental health

Avoiding sugary and acidic foods, brushing at least twice per day, or after every meal, as well as flossing daily, cleaning your tongue, and visiting your dentist regularly, are great ways to protect your dental health and keeping your breath fresh.

Additionally, drinking water, eating foods rich in vitamin C, including coloured and green vegetables, probiotic foods, some herbs and spices, are known to help.

But beware, if you are doing all you can and you are still experiencing breath challenges, consult your physician. Bad breath can be an indication of conditions such as periodontal disease.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at intekaiacademy.org


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