Halitosis / Bad breath

Poothiyasyatha (Halitosis / bad breath):


Over eating of fish, pork, buffalo meat, some type of tubers which are not cooked, black gram, yoghurt, milk, sugarcane juice, jaggery, etc, not brushing the teeth properly, lying with head downwards in an inclined plane, digestive disorders, haemorrhoids, constipation, having no proper regimens like inhalation of medicate fumes, medicated emesis, blood letting, Nasyam (medicated herbal oil applied through the nostrils), application of medicated corryllum in the eyes, toxins, etc. causes foul smell inside the mouth.  It is also seen associated with sinusitis, dental carries, and carcinoma of oral cavity.  In the mugha rogas, there will be an excess of the Tridoshas (the vital life forces expressed as Vatha, Pitha, Kapha) with a predominance of Kapha.

In Ayurveda, there are 75 diseases mentioned that are pertaining to the mouth cavity, out of which 11 are in lips, 1 on cheeks, 10 in teeth, 13 in gum, 6 in tongue, 8 in upper palate, 18 in neck region and 8 in the oral cavity. These disorders are detailed mentioned with their treatments in classical Ayurvedic texts like Ashtanga Hridaya.  Diseases covered under this section include gingivitis, tartar, tooth abscess, laryngitis, toothaches, tumours and malignant growths inside the mouth cavity.

Poothiyasayatha (halitosis / bad breath) is caused by improper hygiene of oral cavity, avoiding daily regimens like application of medicated corryllum in the eyes, Nasyam, gandoosham, dhoomapanam, chewing of betel leaves, etc. Haemorrhoids, chronic constipation, Kapha etc.  blocks the downward movement of the Vatha, resulting in foul smell in mouth.  Permanent diseases of gums and teeth, nasal cavity, throat, lungs, liver disorders, recently eaten strongly flavoured food like garlic and onion will result in halitosis.


Some of the treatments used

Gandhusham - The patient is allowed to sit in a room with no wind or cold. His neck and shoulders are massaged and sudated.  The mouth is filled with liquid (herbal medicines) and held, until there is no room for movement in the mouth. This is done until the nose and eyes began to tear.

Kabalam (gargling) - In this the procedures are the same as gandhusham, but the mouth is only filled half, so that there is room to gargle.

Prathisaranam - Application of medicated herbal powders inside the mouth and inducing salivation.

Visravanam - Rubbing with hard substances and doing the bloodletting.

Vamanam - Medicated emesis.

Nasyam - Putting oil through the nose and removing the vitiated doshas.

Dhoomapanam - Inhalation of medicated fumes.  This is done in a special way.  The medicated fumes are inhaled through the nose and are exhaled through the mouth.


Brushing of teeth:

It should be done with a twig having the width of the end of small finger, having 12 internodal length, pointed and the end should be made like a brush and smooth.  It should have astringent, bitter taste like the twigs of calotropis, neem, etc.  It should be done in the morning and after food without hurting the gums.

Those who should avoid brushing of teeth include those having indigestion, vomiting, cough, asthma, fever, facial paralysis, excessive thirst, wound inside the mouth, heart diseases, eye diseases, head diseases and ear diseases.


Daily regimen said in the Ayurveda:

Wake up in the early morning before sunrise.  Think about yourself whether the food you have taken last night have digested properly, any problems during the sleep, etc.  Have proper defecation.  Brush the teeth as said early.  Apply medicated corryllum in the eyes.  Do Nasyam (nasal drops, usually 2 drops in each nostrils of medicated herbal oil or sesame oil).  Do proper gargling.  Do inhalation of medicated fumes.  Have the chewing of betel leaf.  Do oil massage.  Do proper exercise according to the body conditions.  Do herbal powder massage.  Have bath in luke warm water for the body and room temperature water for head.  Have proper food.

Diet regimens:

Avoid strongly flavoured food like garlic and onion, over eating of fish, pork, buffalo meat, some type of tubers which are not cooked, black gram, yoghurt, milk, sugarcane juice, jaggery, etc.  Avoid potatoes, sweet potatoes, black gram, full cream milk, seafood, tubers that are not ripe and cooked, ice creams.  Use minimum oil or butter in cooking.  Take foods that are easily digestible and light (swathik food).  Avoid fried and cold food.


Maintain proper hygiene with the oral cavity.

Any digestive disorders like constipation, etc. should be corrected so that proper digestion should take place.

Betel chewing – Betel leaves, aracanut, limestone, cinnamon leaf, cloves, cardamom, etc. are recommended for chewing.

Dhoomapanam – Coriander, ghee, guggulu (Indian bedelluim), etc are used in the fumigation.

Kabalam with decoction of skin of nalpamara (the four varieties of ficus), Nasyam with anu thailam, gandoosham with mustard oil, narayana thailam, kabalam and prathisaranam with decoction made of sesame seeds, licorice, and milk.    Apply the powder of Piper nigram, rock salt and cardamom inside the mouth for inducing proper salivation, have kabalam with the decoction of the above.

Thriphala (amla, terminaliya chebula, terminalia bellirica) decoction, sesame oil etc. can be used either for kabalam or gandhusham.

Kabalam with medicated herbal oils like khadiradi thailam, banadi thailam, arimedadi thailam are good.  Khadiradi gulika is also used for the problems of teeth.  Decoction like sapthacahgadi can be used in for kabalam.

For all types of diseases of oral cavity, kabalam can be done with the decoction of snake guard, dried ginger, amla, terminalia bellirica, terminalia chebula, bacopa monera, cinnamon longum, tinospora cordifolia along with honey.

Chewing of cumin seeds after food is good and gives the mouth the feeling of freshness.  Pepper powdered and salt, cardamom, lemon juice and salt are some of the home remedies for bad breath.

The water, which is got from washing rice (usually the second time), is good for removing the bad taste, dirt and bad breath.  This same water added with salt (usually rock salt) is good for the ulcers in mouth.  Luke warm water is good for making the mouth fresh.

The husk of rice, burned into charcoal and powdered is good for brushing the teeth.  A little rock salt, powdered pepper added along with the above removes bad breath and gives the teeth a shining appearance.

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