You’ve undoubtedly heard the question, “Doctor, what can we do about her bad breath?”
Jenny’s mom asked me that question a worried look on her face. “I’ve talked to the pediatrician, and nothing is wrong. But, she is being teased about it, and we notice it at home too. Can you help us?”
And you’ve undoubtedly run through the conventional wisdom of telling them to check with their pediatrician or doctor about any upper airway infections, congestion, allergies, and about any GI tract illness, including GERD -- and be sure they brush and floss well every day.
Past that, you have suggested mouthwash. Maybe.
Mouthwash? Not. A. Good. Idea... because many-to-most mouthwashes have alcohol which dries the oral cavity and may worsen the situation. Of course there are products created for just this situation, the 'BB' (Bad Breath) that embarrasses the patient and/or parents. Those may work, though are often expensive and do not get to the etiology of the problem.
About 25% of the population has chronic BB, apparently not related to the above etiologies. A study of Army recruits found that only 17% did NOT have halitosis.
What could be the reason for BB?
Once you have ruled out the respiratory tract and GI tract (including gingivitis/perio disease) as sources, and the patient’s medical reports do not show other systemic diseases or challenges, the etiology is… GET READY…FOR…IT…
PROBABLY… an unhealthy and highly pathogenic MICROBIOME.
Bad bugs in the gut.
BB (Bad Breath) is caused by BB (bad bugs).
The trillions of microbes we call the microbiome is the community of coexisting microorganisms found in and on the human body. According to studies, the number of microbes is actually from three to ten times the number of cells in the human body. This includes the red blood cells, which are about 25 trillion, or 84% of the total cells of the body.
These microbes include bacteria, fungi and viruses (as well as other simple organisms called archaea and protists (algae and amoebae), that coexist with body cells. They are crucial for the immune system, and for hormonal and metabolic balance. Many are necessary “good bugs” that work with the body for health.
Some are not good. These are the BB (bad bugs), and have been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, infections, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, even obesity and other serious illnesses.
Everyone routinely carries some pathogens or “bad bugs.” In healthy people, they co-exist with the body (their host) and its total microbiome. However, these pathogens are etiologic in disease states such as infections, heart disease and cancers.
It hasn’t helped that we have become so “germ-conscious” that we’ve overdone it to the point of killing the “good bugs”, and letting the “bad bugs” overgrow. We use anti-bacterial soaps, and disinfecting wipes and lotions. Often more quickly able to "bounce back" from such an attack, the bad bugs have a heyday.
Additionally, nutrition and diet are critical parts of the body’s interaction with its environment, as frequent snacking and high carbohydrates and sugars help the pathogens overtake the friendly microbes.
When out of balance, one of the possible results in a human body is BB - halitosis.
Balancing and restoring the microbiome has the potential to make us much more healthy.
Start with probiotics, the supplemental “good bugs” that are packaged in liquid, capsule and chewable forms. In fact, for the patient with BB, the chewable can be fantastic.
Encourage the patient to reduce the intake of sugars and carbohydrates, on which the “bad bugs” feed, and to chew up three or four probiotic tablets a day. One brand is American Health Chewable tablets, and available on Amazon as well as at many health food stores.
It works! Amazing when we get to the etiology of the problem!
Jenny’s mom reports that she no longer has any problem with BB, now that she is limiting sugar and carbs and using Probiotics. She’s a happy girl! Likewise, no BB for my daughter, one of my assistants and a colleague, all of whom have successfully addressed their microbiome.
Got BB? Get Probiotics!
New Year’s resolutions originated a long time ago. Perhaps with the Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the start of each year; perhaps with the Romans who made promises to the god Janus, for whom January is named; perhaps in the Middle Ages when the knights reaffirmed their commitment to chivalry.
Do resolutions help? Do they work?
The answer is, that without a goal to pursue, without a target to shoot toward, it is unlikely that you will hit that goal or target.
However, with a goal, a resolution, your success depends on your recurring, repeating work toward the resolution.
Tony Robbins says to keep on re-visiting the resolution. Every day, for the whole year. Why? Because you reinforce your belief in your goal. You reinforce your thinking toward your goal. You reinforce your actions toward your goal.
You power up!
Gratitude also reinforces your perspective and belief in your goal. It’s amazing. When we are grateful for what we HAVE, we receive more. The Universe is abundant and unlimited. There is enough for everyone. Truly. “Ask and you shall receive.” ~ Matthew 7:7
Ask. Tell the Universe your goal. Even write it down and look at it a few times every day.
Be grateful for what you NOW have. You are setting your beliefs, your perspective, to abundance.
Take actions toward your goal. Tiny steps, tiny decisions that work toward your goal.
Go on living life. It’s too good to miss!
You are POWERED UP!
Deep down - in our subconscious, our amygdala, our unconscious, we have a primitive brain that functions like our animal friends’ brains. We react. Without thinking. (Thinking is higher up.)
Our emotions predominate. It’s our ego barrier - subliminal defense mechanisms that make it hard to accept that we might be wrong, or at risk. Our fears rule - the seeds of stress.
Your higher-up you is not aware of your lower level you. That’s why its called subconscious or unconscious (below the conscious level). So we don’t even realize that fear of not being enough, fear of not being loved, fear of so many things in these deep parts of us, makes us instinctively vulnerable or attacked.
The neocortex part of your brain is the higher-up part that is responsible for higher-order brain functions - thinking and learning.
As your deep hidden motivations (fear responses) are in control, it’s impossible for you to logically understand what “you” are doing.
Even the most intelligent person is wired this way.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections.” ~ John Lennon
What to do?
You can get better and better at this stuff. And that will make you happier and happier.
Dr Chris Baker (center), with a group of seminar doctors at a local dental office.
Photo by Claude Hammond © 2017
TOP PHOTO: Thunderstorm photo by Catalin Fatu at the English language Wikipedia,
Why You Should Read All the Time (at least 10 pages a day!)
- to increase your focus
- to spend time wisely
- to gain perspective
- to be reflective
- you will set goals
- to improve your writing and speaking skills
- to increase your memory
- to be more interesting to other people
- to stay fresh
- to be educated and informed
- to relax
- to boost your creativity
- to enhance what you know
- to level up!
"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time — none... ZERO." ~ Charlie Munger
“Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot read.” ~ Jim Rohn
“The book you don’t read won’t help!” ~ Jim Rohn
“It’s never too late to start. It’s always too late to wait.” ~ Jeff Olson
You want ideas? Good books?
You Can If You think You Can by Norman Vincent Peale
The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
You Can: A Collection of Brief Talks on the Most Important Topic in the World - Your Success by George Matthew Adams
Please, please send me your great book ideas! I’m so up for them!!
Our minds and egos are amazingly capable of convincing us. Unfortunately, most of the convincing is in the negative realm.
As Jim Rohn liked to say, “Success (having a truly happy wonderful life) is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure, joy or despair.”
That decision about one “little dessert,” “one extra little bite,” one day’s exercise, spending rather than investing some money, are all chances to make choices in the success realm or the failure realm.
Make it your habit that your decisions will be in the positive direction, that your simple disciplines will take you to your happiness.
Think of how you’ll feel about yourself after a day of great decisions and simple disciplines!
Think, “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to keep moving upward. And I will do it!”
“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better!” ~ Jim Rohn
Let’s get better together.
Five Things that Parents of Successful Children Do and Five Things that Parents of Successful Children DO NOT Do
Dr Chris Baker
America's most-trusted teacher of orthodontic continuing education, Dr. Chris Baker has practiced and taught for more than 30 years, and is a current or former faculty member of three U.S. dental schools. She is a pediatric dentist, author, blogger, dental practice consultant, and mentor. Dr. Chris is also Past President and Senior Instructor of the American Orthodontic Society. She is based in Texas, USA, but lectures around the world.
Text and images
© 2020 Dr Chris Baker