Megan Sheppard gives advice on what to do if you suffer with bad breath or gallstones.
Q. My son has a problem with bad breath.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much he brushes his teeth, his breath is still very strong. Is there anything that we can do to fix this?
He is only 10 years old, and eats a balanced diet with only occasional junk food items.
A. Halitosis is often able to be directly traced back to certain food or drink items with a strong flavor, but in your son’s case it is likely something related to either oral or gut health.
It is usually relatively straight forward to determine whether it is the mouth or the gut causing issues, and once you have established this you will know which area you need to address.
Dental or gum issues where infection is a factor will have a distinctive odour (similar to a ‘rotting’ smell).
Odour-causing bacteria in the mouth multiply faster where the mouth is very dry, so if your son has a tendency to breathe through his mouth rather than his nostrils, then this will be a contributing factor.
Salivation decreases significantly as we sleep, which is why we get ‘morning breath’.
It is certainly worth taking him to the dentist if you feel that the issue is related to tooth or gum health.
It may be that food particles are being trapped where his brush can’t reach, and this could lead to a relatively simple solution, such as interdental brushing.
If there are early signs of gum disease, then the dentist will be able to suggest how to reverse this and prevent more serious dental issues in the future.
Chronic sinus issues or infections can trigger bad breath. Salt water flushing of the nasal passages and sinus cavity using a system such as Nasaline has proven to be very useful in treating sinusitis and post-nasal drip.
If his breath has more of a vomit smell, the issue is almost certainly in his gut rather than his mouth.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics will go a long way towards helping the halitosis, and it is a good idea to look into food intolerances and sensitivities.
Any foods he is reacting are likely to cause digestive upset.
Gentle remedies to help with digestion include peppermint or spearmint tea, fennel seeds (these can be chewed or made into a tea), fresh parsley leaf, and spirulina.
The spirulina works well as a rinse — simply stir half a teaspoon into a glass of apple juice, swish and swallow.
You can start with a smaller amount of spirulina and increase the dosage as he gets used to the taste of it.
Both spirulina and parsley are rich in chlorophyllm which acts as a natural detoxifier of odours from poor digestion and freshens the breath. A powdered greens blend will also work well.
With gut-related halitosis, any constipation will need to be remedied (add some psyllium husks to the spirulina and juice concoction), and your son will need to get into the habit of being mindful of chewing his food thoroughly.
Placing the knife and fork down after each mouthful, and chewing food until it has a paste-like consistency is key for optimal digestion.
Q. My mother has gallstones and is looking for information other than the olive oil and lemon juice remedy. Can you please help?
A. Gallstones are typically made up of cholesterol or other digestive substances and form in the gallbladder, which is located in the upper right area of the abdomen.
The liver produces bile, a thick green- yellow fluid, which is released into the small intestine via the bile duct to assist in the digestion of fats.
When gallstones develop and block the duct or inflame the gallbladder they can cause very intense pain.
Vitamin C helps to lower bile cholesterol levels — your mother should be taking 1,000mg, three times daily.
See if you can also get hold of a lipotropic combination of nutrients, usually containing milk thistle, choline, inositol, and methionine.
This helps to metabolise fats more effectively, supports liver function, and promotes healthy bile flow.
Milk thistle alone can help to dissolve gallstones when taken at a dose of 250-500mg daily.
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