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Halitosis or bad breath is a common oral health problem. It may occur due to intake of certain foods like onion and garlic, poor dental hygiene, breathing through the mouth, dry mouth, gum diseases or diseases of the salivary gland. Incorrect cleaning of dentures and oral cancer can also lead to halitosis. (Read more: Oral hygiene tips)

Non-oral causes of halitosis include diabetes; chronic bronchitis; post-nasal drip; liver diseases or kidney disease; gastrointestinal disorders; infection in the nose, throat or lungs; and chronic sinusitis.

Halitosis may manifest the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Bad breath in the morning with a burning tongue 
  • White coating on the tongue, especially at the back of the tongue
  • Thick saliva 
  • Post-nasal drip or mucus 
  • A constant bitter, sour or metallic taste in the mouth.

Homeopathic treatment of halitosis aims at treating the underlying cause of the condition. Homeopathic doctors consider the characteristics of the patient’s personality and physiology before choosing the right remedy for them. Common remedies include carbo vegatabilis, kalium phosphoricum, kreosotum, mercurius solubilis, pulsatilla, pyrogenium and sepia. The dosage of the remedy is prescribed by the homeopathic physician based on each individual case.

A carefully selected medicine also helps the patient cope with the psychological stress associated with the condition. Also, many a time, halitosis may be imaginary (delusional) wherein the patient imagines having bad breath but neither the clinician nor the people around can confirm it. In such instances, homeopathic medicines help in treating the patient at the level of the mind to get rid of this delusion.

  1. Homeopathic medicines for halitosis
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for a halitosis patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for halitosis
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for halitosis
  5. Takeaway

Some of the most important homeopathic remedies that are helpful in treating halitosis are listed below. The symptoms mentioned under each remedy prompt the homeopathic physician to choose the said remedy.

  • Carbo Vegetabilis
    Common Name:
    Vegetable charcoal
    Symptoms: Carbo vegetabilis is indicated in cases of halitosis with the following characteristics:
    • Tooth decay
    • Gum bleeding while brushing
    • Indigestion, bloating and colic
    • White or yellow coating on tongue along with ulcers
    • Infection and inflammation of the gums
    • Sluggishness and laziness
    • A tendency to suffer from chronic complaints
    • Receding gums, which bleed easily 
    • Extreme weakness and a tendency to faint easily
    • A sensation of being cold along with bluish discolouration of skin

Symptoms are worse after eating fatty foods or overeating and get better from belching.

  • Kalium Phosphoricum 
    Common Name:
    Phosphate of potassium
    Symptoms: Kali phosphoricum works well in young individuals who are physically weak and are easily exhausted (both mentally and physically). It helps treat halitosis associated with the following characteristics and symptoms:
    • Toothache
    • Oily skin, anaemia, weight loss and a tendency to catch cold easily
    • A brown coating on tongue 
    • Swelling in the roof of the mouth; the person feels as though the roof of their mouth is lined with grease
    • Offensive breath that smells like rotten cheese
    • Dry mouth with a bitter or sour taste, especially in the morning
    • Receding, spongy gums that bleed easily
  • Kreosotum
    Common Name:
    A distillation of wood tar/beechwood kreosote
    Symptoms: Kreosote is prescribed to dark, thin, tall and malnourished individuals who those experience the following symptoms:
    • Bad breath along with a bitter taste in mouth
    • Discoloured teeth that decay rapidly
    • Spongy gums that bleed easily
    • Red and bleeding lips
    • Tooth pain so severe that it interferes with sleep 

Symptoms aggravate on exposure to open air and after periods in women and the patient feels better on application of warmth on the affected area or after consuming warm food.

  • Mercurius Solubilis 
    Common Name: Quicksilver
    Symptoms: Mercurius solubilis is an excellent remedy for halitosis with the following features:
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Sweetish metallic taste in the mouth
    • Offensive discharges and offensive smell from the body
    • Excessive secretion of saliva from the mouth which is offensive, tastes like copper or is bloody and thick
    • Spongy, receding gums that bleed easily
    • Dental abscess and teeth decay, especially at the crown
    • Thick and flabby tongue with a yellow coating and offensive ulcers 
    • Moist mouth and excessive thirst
    • Tonsillitis and sore throat with offensive pus in the throat and tonsils
    • Offensive belching

All the symptoms worsen at night and in humid weather.

  • Pulsatilla Pratensis
    Common Name:
    Wind flower
    Symptoms: Pulsatilla is an efficacious remedy for individuals who are mild and gentle in nature and tend to weep easily. It helps treat halitosis that presents with the following characteristics:
    • Bad breath with sweet-tasting saliva
    • Dryness in mouth with lack of thirst; patient rinses their mouth often
    • Food tastes bitter, especially bread
    • Frequent belching
    • Changeable taste in the mouth, varying from bitter, salty, offensive and greasy
    • Dry lips; patient frequently licks them
    • Tongue coated yellow or white and covered with mucus

Symptoms are worse in the evening, after having fatty food and on lying on the left side. Symptoms get better on consuming cold food and drinks.

  • Pyrogenium 
    Common Name: Artificial sepsin
    Symptoms: Pyrogen is indicated in case of the following symptoms:
  • Sepia Officinalis 
    Common Name: Inky juice of cuttlefish
    Symptoms: Sepia officinalis works best for women who have generalised weakness, yellow complexion and tend to faint easily. The following symptoms indicate a need for sepia:
    • Bad breath along with a white coating on tongue that clears up after menstruation
    • Salty, offensive taste in the mouth
    • Pain in the tongue and roof of the mouth as though burnt
    • Swollen and cracked lower lip
    • Dryness of the tongue, mouth and throat

Symptoms worsen in the evening and on exposure to cold air and get better after sleeping and exercising.

Homeopathic doctors employ extremely minute quantities of natural substances to treat various conditions. To ensure that homeopathic medicines retain their potency and give optimal benefit, it is necessary that certain lifestyle habits be modified. Homeopathic physicians advise the following changes along with medicines to promote a speedy recovery: 

Do’s: 

  • Indulge in active movement in open air to keep your muscles strong. 
  • Go for daily walks and do light manual labour to strengthen your muscles. Some exercises also help to relax the mind.
  • Consume healthy and nutritious foods. 

Don’ts: 

  • Anything in the diet and regimen that can react with the medicines should be avoided like:
    • Strong-scented flowers in the room
    • Medicinally compounded tooth powders and mouthwashes 
    • Perfumed sachets 
    • Highly seasoned foods and sauces 
    • Strong-smelling foods and drinks like coffee, herb teas, fine liquors prepared with medicinal spices and spiced chocolate
    • Frozen foods like ice creams 
    • Raw herbs and dishes that contain or are made from these herbs 
  • Long afternoon naps will do more harm than good and hence must be avoided as far as possible.
  • Avoid mental strain.

It is believed that more than 50 percent of the general population suffers from halitosis. The oral cavity is the origin of halitosis in most of the cases, while non-oral causes such as disorders of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary system account for halitosis in only a small percentage of cases. In about 1 percent patients, the cause is drugs or diet.

Halitosis can lead to anxiety and social embarrassment. Patients with chronic bad breath are often disappointed with the frequent use of conventional medicines and conservative treatment, which do not provide a permanent solution for their condition. Homeopathy offers a simple and safer way to manage and treat the condition at a deeper level. Homeopathic treatment not only heals the condition, but also treats the susceptibility of a person to certain diseases, called miasm.

A review article published in the International Journal of Oral Health and Medical Research summarised the efficacy of homeopathic applications in dentistry. As per the article, homeopathy is helpful for patients who are reluctant to take modern treatment or in those who did not respond to conventional treatment.

Homeopathic medicines are highly diluted and made from natural substances like plants and minerals. They are administered keeping in mind the patient's mental and physical makeup; hence, these are essentially safe and are not known to cause side effects. However, it is important that one consults a qualified homeopathic physician for appropriate homeopathic treatment and rapid recovery.

Halitosis or bad breath can occur due to various oral and non-oral conditions. It is usually Conventional treatment is usually unable to achieve permanent cure from halitosis. Homeopathy is considered to be a very safe mode of medication without any noted side effects. Homeopathic medicines are said to be effective in relieving acute episodes as well as prevent recurrences of halitosis. A detailed medical history guides the physician to the appropriate remedy for the individual.

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References

  1. Bahadır Uğur Aylıkcı, Hakan Çolak. Halitosis: From diagnosis to management. 2013 Jan-Jun; 4(1): 14–23. PMID: 23633830
  2. William Boericke. Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Kessinger Publishing: Médi-T 1999, Volume 1 Homoeopathic Materia Medica
  3. Wenda Brewster O’Reilly. Organon of the Medical art by Wenda Brewster O’Reilly . B jain; New Delhi
  4. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Halitosis or bad breath
  5. The European Comittee for Homeopathy. Benefits of Homeopathy. Belgium; [Internet]

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Dr. Laxmidutta Shukla
BAMS,MD
46 Years of Experience
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