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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Mouthwashes have become a fad nowadays – some simply rinse their mouth with a mouthwash instead of brushing their teeth, the reason being lack of time. While mouthwashes are effective up to a certain extent, the question is can they replace your brush and tooth paste?

Why is Mouthwash Used?

Mouth washes are used for multiple reasons; to prevent tooth decay, freshen your breath and to minimize plaque. It is also known to reduce gingivitis (gum disease) and plaque that harden on your teeth.

In order to understand the efficacy of mouth wash better, you need to know about the ingredients it is made up of. The basic ingredients are cleansing agents, water, alcohol and flavor causing substances. Certain active ingredients are also added to mouth wash which usually vary from product to product. Some of them are:

Fluoride which prevents decay of the tooth by making it more resistant.

Antimicrobials which reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth that lead to plaque formation in the teeth.

Salts, that have astringent properties, act as deodorizers to prevent bad breath.

Substances that reduce bad breath causing compounds.

Advantages of using a Mouthwash are:

1. Helps in preventing gum disease: Inflammation of the gums and teeth can occur when plaque causing bacteria are present on the teeth. Mouthwashes that contain antibacterial agents help in reducing these bacteria.

2. Reduces cavity: Mouthwashes that contain fluoride help in reducing cavities that affect your teeth. Cavities are holes in your teeth which form when bacteria in the teeth cause plaque.

3. Provides relief from canker sores: Mouth wash provides relief from canker sores by reducing the amount of bacteria present on the affected area.

4. Prevents pregnancy complications: Certain gum diseases release harmful bacteria in the bloodstream that can stimulate early contractions. Using mouth washes provides safeguard against these bacteria, thus, in turn, protecting your baby.

Disadvantages of a Mouthwash:

1. May irritate canker sores: Mouthwashes which contain alcohol in high concentrations can irritate canker sores in the mouth.

2. A risk factor for oral cancer: Certain mouthwashes may contain ingredients which increase the risks of oral cancer. It is therefore important for you to check the ingredients before using it.

The Verdict:

Given that the benefits outweigh the cons, using mouthwash is good for you. You should not substitute brushing or flossing with using a mouthwash, though. Rather, it should complement them. If the mouth wash contains alcohol in decent amounts, then you are good to go.

Carbohydrates have become the 'culprits' for many healthy eaters recently. Despite their less stellar stature in the nutrition department, carbs aren't actually the enemies for your body. They are responsible for providing you with energy, fuelling your body and this may sound weird, but yes, they may also help you lose weight. Contrary to the popular belief, they are often seen as the cause of weight gain and obesity-related issues. If the right carbs are eaten in the right quantity, only then you will be able to shed those kilos. The idea is to not cut them off your diet plan completely. According to Mayo Clinic, you need to consume between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates every day if you normally consume 2,000 calories.What Role Do Carbohydrates Play In Your Body?

The most important function of carbohydrates is to provide energy to your brain and body. Carbohydrates from the food you consume are broken down into smaller units of sugar. These small units get absorbed out of your digestive tract and enter into your bloodstream. This blood sugar tends to get transported through your bloodstream, and further helps supply energy to your muscles and tissues. Moreover, most of your body cells use carbohydrate glucose for energy; in fact, brain uses most of the glucose as an energy source.

Your body gives indicators when it's not getting enough carbohydrates. We list out some signs and symptoms that will tell you that you are not consuming enough carbohydrates.
1. Less energy

One of the main roles of carbohydrates is to provide energy, particularly to your brain and nervous system. With negligible amount of carbohydrates in the body, your body will feel less energised and more fatigued through the day.

2. Constipation

Healthy carbohydrates including whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits and nuts are plant-based carbs that have fibre. If you do not consume enough fibre-rich foods, it can lead to constipation. Consuming enough complex carbs like whole grain breads, pastas and cereals will help aid your digestive health by smoothening your bowel movement, further reducing the risk of constipation.

3. Bad Breath

When you don't consume enough carbs, your body tends to burn the stored fats and proteins for fuel, which is done by a process called ketosis. The used fats and proteins generally cause smelly breath.

4. Your gym sessions are not effective

If you are not having sufficient carb intake, then there are high chances of you feeling lethargic during workouts. You will be less likely to sustain a high-intensity workout. It's best to load up on carbs before you begin to exercise so that you have enough energy to burn fat away.

5. Your progress of losing weight has stopped

If your progress was great and you lost weight quickly, which suddenly stalled, it's probably because you are not including enough carbs in your diet. A low-carb diet can hinder your weight loss efforts. If you eat fewer carbs, the liver tends to make up for it by producing sugar, thereby spiking blood sugar levels. When the blood sugar rises, pancreas secrete insulin, which is your fat storing hormone. As a result, you store fat instead of shedding it.

6. You feel hungry all the time

Most healthy carbohydrates are rich in fibre content, which keeps your body fuller for longer. Now, if you don't eat carbs, you don't get enough fibre, which leaves your tummy asking for more food. A low-carb and low-fat diet is a disaster for people who are looking to lose weight.

7. Mood swings

You will automatically feel irritated and moody because you lack energy and are hungry at the same time. Moreover, carbohydrates play an important role in body's production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that is produced in the brain.

We all love junk food; but who would like the consequences the oh-so-tasty meal brings along? We are talking about weight gain, obesity, heart problems, diabetes and bad breath. Yes you heard us! Even if you skip the onions in your burgers, there is a chance you may be left with a bad breath that doesn't go away easily. There's a study published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine that found that young people who frequently binge on fast food, that is at least thrice a week, are more likely to suffer from bad breath or halitosis as compared to those who ate junk food less frequently. Now, if you wonder why this bad breath has left you embarrassed, probably your junk food eating habit is the culprit. We tell you why!Junk food items may taste heavenly. While they wreak havoc on your body and overall health, they are also responsible for taking a toll on your oral health. Bad breath, sores and gum diseases are some of the conditions that junk foods can be blamed for. One of the main reasons for this is that since most junk and fast foods lack proper minerals and vitamins, bacteria and germs tend to reside in such places, thereby causing such oral health problems.

Hard to Digest Junk Foods

These foods are mostly hard to digest and tend to cause a build-up of gas. This gas is released through the mouth, causing a pungent smell that can only be masked through gums and mints.

Oils In Junk Foods Can Cause Acidity

The oils in junk and fast foods make you more likely to suffer from acidity, which in turn may lead to gastric reflux, which is a major contributor of bad breath.

Conditions Like Diabetes May Only Add to the Problem

If you have an underlying condition like diabetes, the smell can get worse. The bacteria in your mouth tend to feed on sugar, and higher levels of sugar are associated with diabetes that give the bacteria plenty to feed on, further allowing the bacteria to multiply.

Your diet plays a major role in keeping your oral health in check. If you are dealing with bad breath due to excessive consumption of junk foods, it's time you switch to healthier alternatives and save yourself from being embarrassed. Eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits to reduce the risk of bad breath significantly. Eating apple can be an excellent way to freshen your mouth as it contains compounds that can inhibit the activity in your mouth. Try eating oranges and strawberries; the vitamin C content in these fruits creates an acidic environment in the mouth that makes it difficult for the bacteria to grow and thrive. Here are more foods that you can eat to treat bad breath.

You bite into an apple and see a red patch on the bitten part. Embarrassing much? Take another instance; you are brushing your teeth and as you spit out the paste, you see a hint of blood in the sink. Your bleeding gums may be a cause of worry; seeing blood oozing out of your gums is not normal. Bleeding gums can be one of the indications of a gum disease; therefore, it is important to take care of not just your pearly whites, but also your gums that hold them firmly. Here's everything you'd want to know about bleeding gums and home remedies to keep them healthy.

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding gums can be caused due to the following factors:
1.An unhygienic mouth can be home to various bacteria, which can lead to plaque build-up on your gum line.

2. The accumulation of plaque on your gums can cause gingivitis, which in turn can cause inflammation and bleeding in the gums.

3.Vitamin C and vitamin K deficiencies in the body can also cause bleeding gums.

4.Infection in the gum may also cause your gums to bleed.

5.Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also be one of the reasons.

6.Poor oral hygiene is the basis of all the diseases in gums and teeth.

7.Excessive use of tobacco may also be harmful for your gums.

8.Last, but not the least, poor eating habits can be one of the causes of bleeding gums.

Symptoms of Bleeding Gums

Some of the symptoms of bleeding gums may include:
Loosening of teeth
Inflamed gums
Bad breath
In some cases, formation of pus around the gums.
Swollen gums

Home Remedies for Bleeding Gums
We suggest some natural remedies for bleeding gums that you must keep handy:

1. Salt water rinse

Salt has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help reduce the swelling and combat infections that cause bleeding gums. All you need is warm water and some salt; mix the two and rinse your mouth thoroughly with the solution. Use it at least two to three times a day.

2. Honey

Take some raw honey on your fingertips and massage on your gums gently. Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help kill the bacteria causing bleeding gums. Make sure you apply honey on your gums regularly.

3. Cranberry juice

Take some unsweetened cranberry juice and drink it on a daily basis. Cranberry comprises phenolic acids and anthocyanins, which are known to have anti-microbial properties that help keep your teeth and gums off the harmful bacteria.

4. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a process of swishing some oil in your mouth to help fight infections that cause your gums to bleed. Rinse with coconut oil or sesame oil to ensure that your mouth is wary of harmful bacterial growth.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been known to help heal infections; thanks to its therapeutic properties. Its curcumin compound is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help stop the gums from bleeding. All you need to do is mix some turmeric and mustard oil together and massage the mixture gently on your gums.

Other amazing natural ingredients may include aloe vera, ginger, baking soda, neem, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice..

Ayurvedic Remedies To Stop The Gums From Bleeding

According to the book The Complete Book of Aurvedic Home Remedies by Dr. Vasant Lad, here are a few home remedies that you can bring into use for bleeding gums.

1. Triphala tea is effective for a bleeding gums and gingivitis. Triphala has astringent properties and it is known to be haemostatic, that is, it stops the bleeding. Gargling and swishing the mouth with triphala tea are helpful for both the conditions.

2. One cup of orange juice with half teaspoon of natural sugar and a pinch of cumin will help keep bleeding gums at bay.

3. Drink a glass of lemon water, which is also known to help stop the blood.

4. Raw apples are said to be beneficial. Eating a raw apple for about half an hour after meals helps to clean the teeth and heal the gums. You can eat pears too.

5. Try eating raspberries two to three times a day on an empty stomach. Make sure you do not combine them with a dairy product.

6. Massage your gums with coconut oil so that your gums are strengthened.

Other than these home remedies, make sure you brush your teeth on a daily basis, especially after eating sugary and processed foods. Ensure that you brush gently, in order to avoid damaging soft tissues of your gums. Consuming foods like yogurt, green tea, soy, garlic, et al may also help keep your gums healthy. Go on and ensure a healthy mouth and blood-less gums!

Milk breath. Cheese mouth. The sour stench of worst-date nightmares. What the heck is this foul demon odour and how does one exorcise it?

Millions of bacteria

Firstly, you have to understand your enemy. You probably don’t think about your mouth this way, but it’s technically part of your digestive tract. Chewing is only the first step of digestion.

“Imagine millions of bacteria feasting on particles of food and tissue in our mouth, some giving off smelly waste,” says Dr David Krol, former chair of the American Academy of Paediatrics' section on Oral Health.

As those microbes work to digest milk solids (lactose, proteins, and lipids), they sometimes create excess hydrogen sulphide.

An article in the Journal of Human Physiology confirms this and states that "the most common bacteria to produce these compounds are gram–negative anaerobic bacteria". It the presence of this bacteria that can cause a foul smell.

Gram-negative bacteria

This is why, post-cheese, your mouth smells like a mound of rotten eggs.

So, what can you do about it?

While you can’t eliminate the smell completely, you can control the aroma by targeting what Dr Krol refers to as the biggest culprits: gram-negative bacteria.

This family of bacteria (which also includes E. coli and chlamydia, by the way) takes shelter below your gum line, between your gums and teeth, and between the grooves of your tongue.

Brush with fluoridated toothpaste

Unfortunately for those who like to swish and spit, mouthwash doesn’t help the gram-negative bacteria situation – and can actually make it worse.

Mouthwash kills all bacteria (not just the stinky kind), which may lead to even worse breath.

Read more: Your mouthwash could protect you from gonorrhoea

To get rid of the gram-negative bacteria, Dr Krol says to brush with a fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day and, if you have particularly nasty exhalations, after every meal.

Make sure you’re brushing in the places the bacteria live and pick up an inexpensive tongue scraper too. Flossing also helps.

Basically, good oral hygiene can help fight milk breath. The best news? You don’t have to give up eating cheese.

Dr. Vijay Satav
Dr. Vijay Satav
MD - Allopathy, Clinical Pathologist, 23 yrs, Pune
Dr. Pallavi U Bhurse
Dr. Pallavi U Bhurse
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sheetal Shetty
Dr. Sheetal Shetty
BHMS, Homeopath Psychologist, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Anand  Kale
Dr. Anand Kale
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Dermatologist, 2 yrs, Pune
Dr. Kewal Deshpande
Dr. Kewal Deshpande
BHMS, 2 yrs, Pune