Best Foods for Halitosis & Gingivitis

Best Foods for Halitosis & Gingivitis
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The best and worst foods for bad breath and gum inflammation.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Yeah, saturated fats produce an inflammatory response. Yeah, inflammation is “recognized as one of the key underlying [causal] factors in periodontal disease.” And so, that could explain why moderating people’s intake of meat and dairy could promote periodontal health. But plant-based diets don’t just offer lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, but also higher levels of complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals. So, we don’t necessarily know what the mechanism is. Yes, saturated fat intake is associated with the progression of periodontal disease, but at the same time, dietary fiber intake may be protective. But you don’t know either way …until you put it to the test.

The effect of dietary intervention in a randomized, controlled trial. At seven months of age, more than a thousand infants were randomized, about half to a lower saturated fat and cholesterol intake to see if they get less heart disease when they grow up. They’re still just in their 20s, but as children and adolescents, those randomized to the healthier diets ended up with better saliva production. They had them chew on like wax cubes, and those randomized since infancy to the better diet produced more saliva. And “[s]aliva is essential for the maintenance of oral health;” for example, clearing out sugar and acid faster off the teeth. What they think happened is that “the greater increase of salivary flow was due to the greater intake of fibre-rich food”—whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and berries that require “more chewing which in turn is known to” boost saliva production. So, maybe their bodies were just used to putting out more? In other words, “in addition to general health benefits, dietary fibre may have benefits on oral health as well”—but not necessarily the fiber itself, but just the act of chewing itself.

That reminds of me of this study, in which a single high-fiber meal was able to reduce bad breath for hours. Bad breath is caused by these gaseous sulfur compounds produced by a certain type of bacteria that are concentrated on the back of your tongue.  And so, when we eat, the reason that bad breath gets better may be due to a kind of “’self-cleaning’ of the mouth while chewing food.” And so, it makes sense “that foods that need to be chewed more intensively have a stronger self-cleaning effect [on the back of your tongue] than foods that require less chewing.” But, you don’t know…until you put it to the test. Two very similar meals, but one had a whole grain roll, more fiber, more chewing, and a raw apple and jam, where the other was just white bread with jelly and cooked apples—less chewing. Then, they just measured the halitosis compounds in people’s breath at two hours after the meal, then eight hours. And, even after the low-fiber meal, bad breath levels dropped, but in the higher-fiber meal they dropped significantly more, and stayed way down even eight hours later.

So, the reason a high-fiber diet may improve periodontal disease may be from the fiber, the lower saturated fat intake, or just the chewing. But there’s another possibility. Maybe it’s the nitrate-containing vegetables. We know “the ingestion of dietary nitrate [in the form of greens and beets] has been proven to exert many beneficial and clinically relevant effects on general health,” including maintaining good blood flow and reducing inflammation in general. So, hey, might improved circulation to the gums and anti-inflammatory effects benefit periodontal patients? Let’s find out: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of repeated consumption of…lettuce juice? Why lettuce juice? That sounds so disgusting. Not to worry, though, “to improve patient acceptance,” the lettuce juice was seasoned by a “chamomile-honey flavour” and sweetened with Splenda. That just sounds worse!

But it worked. “This clinical intervention trial demonstrated an attenuating effect of dietary nitrate on gingival inflammation. Check it out. In the placebo group, most of their teeth had no gingivitis, about 60 percent. But 40 percent did have mild gingivitis with almost no moderate gingivitis. And after drinking two weeks of placebo lettuce juice—I don’t know if that sounds better or worse—no real change, as you would expect. In the lettuce group, they started out a bit worse. About half their teeth had mild or moderate gum disease. But then, after two weeks of actual lettuce juice, significant improvements. No more moderate disease, the mild disease rates were cut in half, and three-quarters of their teeth had no gingivitis at all.

“In conclusion, our findings suggest that the ingestion of [greens and beets] may be a clinically useful adjunct in the control of chronic gingivitis,” and all sorts of chronic disease. What’s good for the mouth—not smoking, a healthier diet—is good for the rest of our body. So, many dental professionals, who may see people more frequently than their doctors, should be counseling patients on living more healthfully. And, indeed, nearly all dental hygienists surveyed said they thought they have a role in helping patients improve their diets, yet that’s not what happens at all. Ask the patients. and less than one in ten said they got dietary advice from their dental professionals. Why? Because “although dentists were motivated to include nutrition in their clinical care, most felt unqualified to provide dietary guidance.” That never stopped doctors!

But, it’s true, nutrition is neglected in dental school, just like it is in medical school. And in most cases, all people got were like biochemistry of vitamins—the Krebs cycle all over again, as opposed to applied, clinical nutrition. I mean, it’s really not rocket science. Or is it? Get it? “[W]hy dietary nitrate is hard to ‘beet’.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: marilyn barbone via Adobe Stock Photos. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Yeah, saturated fats produce an inflammatory response. Yeah, inflammation is “recognized as one of the key underlying [causal] factors in periodontal disease.” And so, that could explain why moderating people’s intake of meat and dairy could promote periodontal health. But plant-based diets don’t just offer lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, but also higher levels of complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals. So, we don’t necessarily know what the mechanism is. Yes, saturated fat intake is associated with the progression of periodontal disease, but at the same time, dietary fiber intake may be protective. But you don’t know either way …until you put it to the test.

The effect of dietary intervention in a randomized, controlled trial. At seven months of age, more than a thousand infants were randomized, about half to a lower saturated fat and cholesterol intake to see if they get less heart disease when they grow up. They’re still just in their 20s, but as children and adolescents, those randomized to the healthier diets ended up with better saliva production. They had them chew on like wax cubes, and those randomized since infancy to the better diet produced more saliva. And “[s]aliva is essential for the maintenance of oral health;” for example, clearing out sugar and acid faster off the teeth. What they think happened is that “the greater increase of salivary flow was due to the greater intake of fibre-rich food”—whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and berries that require “more chewing which in turn is known to” boost saliva production. So, maybe their bodies were just used to putting out more? In other words, “in addition to general health benefits, dietary fibre may have benefits on oral health as well”—but not necessarily the fiber itself, but just the act of chewing itself.

That reminds of me of this study, in which a single high-fiber meal was able to reduce bad breath for hours. Bad breath is caused by these gaseous sulfur compounds produced by a certain type of bacteria that are concentrated on the back of your tongue.  And so, when we eat, the reason that bad breath gets better may be due to a kind of “’self-cleaning’ of the mouth while chewing food.” And so, it makes sense “that foods that need to be chewed more intensively have a stronger self-cleaning effect [on the back of your tongue] than foods that require less chewing.” But, you don’t know…until you put it to the test. Two very similar meals, but one had a whole grain roll, more fiber, more chewing, and a raw apple and jam, where the other was just white bread with jelly and cooked apples—less chewing. Then, they just measured the halitosis compounds in people’s breath at two hours after the meal, then eight hours. And, even after the low-fiber meal, bad breath levels dropped, but in the higher-fiber meal they dropped significantly more, and stayed way down even eight hours later.

So, the reason a high-fiber diet may improve periodontal disease may be from the fiber, the lower saturated fat intake, or just the chewing. But there’s another possibility. Maybe it’s the nitrate-containing vegetables. We know “the ingestion of dietary nitrate [in the form of greens and beets] has been proven to exert many beneficial and clinically relevant effects on general health,” including maintaining good blood flow and reducing inflammation in general. So, hey, might improved circulation to the gums and anti-inflammatory effects benefit periodontal patients? Let’s find out: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of repeated consumption of…lettuce juice? Why lettuce juice? That sounds so disgusting. Not to worry, though, “to improve patient acceptance,” the lettuce juice was seasoned by a “chamomile-honey flavour” and sweetened with Splenda. That just sounds worse!

But it worked. “This clinical intervention trial demonstrated an attenuating effect of dietary nitrate on gingival inflammation. Check it out. In the placebo group, most of their teeth had no gingivitis, about 60 percent. But 40 percent did have mild gingivitis with almost no moderate gingivitis. And after drinking two weeks of placebo lettuce juice—I don’t know if that sounds better or worse—no real change, as you would expect. In the lettuce group, they started out a bit worse. About half their teeth had mild or moderate gum disease. But then, after two weeks of actual lettuce juice, significant improvements. No more moderate disease, the mild disease rates were cut in half, and three-quarters of their teeth had no gingivitis at all.

“In conclusion, our findings suggest that the ingestion of [greens and beets] may be a clinically useful adjunct in the control of chronic gingivitis,” and all sorts of chronic disease. What’s good for the mouth—not smoking, a healthier diet—is good for the rest of our body. So, many dental professionals, who may see people more frequently than their doctors, should be counseling patients on living more healthfully. And, indeed, nearly all dental hygienists surveyed said they thought they have a role in helping patients improve their diets, yet that’s not what happens at all. Ask the patients. and less than one in ten said they got dietary advice from their dental professionals. Why? Because “although dentists were motivated to include nutrition in their clinical care, most felt unqualified to provide dietary guidance.” That never stopped doctors!

But, it’s true, nutrition is neglected in dental school, just like it is in medical school. And in most cases, all people got were like biochemistry of vitamins—the Krebs cycle all over again, as opposed to applied, clinical nutrition. I mean, it’s really not rocket science. Or is it? Get it? “[W]hy dietary nitrate is hard to ‘beet’.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: marilyn barbone via Adobe Stock Photos. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

In case you missed the previous video, check out How to Treat Periodontitis with Diet.

Nitrates also explain my videos Don’t Use Antiseptic Mouthwash and Antibacterial Toothpaste: Harmful, Helpful, or Harmless?.

Which veggies are most nitrate rich? See my video Vegetables Rate by Nitrate.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

91 responses to “Best Foods for Halitosis & Gingivitis

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  1. I thought the “Rocket Science” joke at the end of the video was pretty cool :-) A good reminder of a healthy green leafy.

    1. And such a great green leafy. So much better tasting than beets and makes for an outstanding salad addition and even mild enough to make a salad on its own. I love the stuff.

  2. From the transcript:

    “They had them chew on like wax cubes,”
    – – – – –

    What are “like wax cubes”?

    And don’t forget good ol’ raw garlic. It makes our breath smell like fresh lilacs and roses!

    1. Those of us who had edible wax teeth when we were kids feel like we know exactly what it tasted like. I am vaguely remembering an edible wax other thing, but the teeth fit this video better.

        1. I suppose they would have a long shelf life in an emergency.

          Here honey, eat one of the candles. It is soy. In my day, we had wax lips.

      1. Deb, it reminded me of the story about Dr. G eating dates at his grandma’s when he was a kid. He described them as being big & waxy.

        Hey by the way, this past Friday I hit the 3 week mark again of doin’ the Dozen. Now I’m reaching for the one month mark this week. Woohoo!
        Will let you know if I make it. So far, so good…

          1. Thank you, YR. I love Andy Williams. His voice had such a beautiful timbre. He’s one of my all time favorite singers!

        1. Way to go Nancy!

          I am so proud of you! I am not 100% sure that I am doing every every every thing, but I am doing quite a bit of it.

          I never got the app because I use my phone for pictures and it uses up the storage so quickly that I had to remove the apps I had on it.

          I wish I could get rid of all of the junk they put on it like the stock market. I would even get rid of Siri to have room for my own interests.

          I still don’t do the oatmeal every day, but I got Mary’s Gone Crackers to get some flaxseeds. Not the same as fresh ground flaxseed, but they have one with seaweed and I watched a review of it having no oil. I eat 5 or 6 crackers and it causes me to have the thought, “That’s right, I need to get my flax in” and having that thought every day will help eventually.

  3. In our own little household trial greens have not made that big of a difference in inflammation of the gums…. and we’ve been doing this a long time. But in the last 4 to 6 weeks both of us experienced a noticeable improvement with chronically inflamed teeth. The only two things we added were green tea and ginger. The other best thing we ever did was to stop using commercial toothpaste.

      1. hi Guy, we cook with fresh ginger sometimes, but I started to add 1/4 tsp of powdered ginger (or a bit less) to a couple of other powders I use in a small glass and mix with a tbsp or 2 of water, and drink it down. My husband throws it in his smoothie if he’s having one for breakfast. A thin slice of peeled fresh ginger in a cup of tea with lemon is nice, but I remember Dr Greger saying there is a substance in powdered ginger that fresh doesn’t have… so that’s what we use. Watch for increasing bruising/bleeding when using spices and herbs regularly.

        1. Barb,

          Which video did he compare fresh to powdered ginger? I like the taste of the fresh so much better that I need a logic to use the powdered at all.

          I didn’t have anything good happen going off commercial toothpaste. I started having my teeth erode. I eat ginger and I drink green tea every day, and I am low fat, almost no oil, though I did accidentally get plant milk with oil for a few months. I don’t cook with oil. I cut out citrus. I know that hibiscus tea is the most likely other culprit, but the visible erosion has stopped since I went back to commercial toothpaste and I haven’t stopped drinking hibiscus tea.

          It just seems more protective right now. I will figure out how to not have hibiscus tea ruin my teeth. Perhaps drinking water with it, but my teeth had never been more vulnerable since I went natural. I was doing a non-fluoride toothpaste, so maybe it was just the fluoride, but I will wait a while before trying again.

          1. Hi Deb, if I come across the video, I will post it. There are so many ginger vids lol! I like fresh ginger too especially for cooking but I dont use much dried – just a tiny bit. I wasn’t taking ginger to improve my teeth, it was just a side effect I guess. Also it’s a good reminder to be open minded and ‘see what happens’ . Green tea (which I dont particularly like) has flouride in it too Deb, so there is that advantage too. I don’t drink it much, but I swish with it.

                1. What I noticed is that dried and heated were the two categories. I have bought and loved a glass jar of shredded ginger. Tasted great without the extra work, but perhaps without the extra boost.

            1. Thanks Liisa!

              I look for you and have missed you! What kind of access problems are you having?

              I couldn’t post on the site from my computer for weeks.

    1. Many people are realizing that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is in many brands of toothpaste (both commercial and natural). This detergent does clean well, but it makes the mouth slough off a layer of skin and it can irritate canker sores. Plus SLS is the ingredient that removes all oils from your tongue which is why food tastes weird after brushing until it gets re-coated naturally. Brushing with a SLS free toothpaste does not cause this.

      1. Thanks Jimbo!

        Yes, I know I will be re-visiting kinds of toothpaste.

        I think I thought going natural would do something wonderful and I never expected to see a visible wearing away of the enamel and staining and food sticking and it was as if my teeth were drier or something.

        I tried a few brands, but I am on re-set mode and paused and went back to what was working. I got rid of it for more symbolic “going natural” reasons and wasn’t having teeth problems to begin with. Everything else about this walk has had such an improvement in symptoms after going WFPB. That was the thing, which got worse, but not until after I switched types of toothpaste. I will try again after a few months.

    2. Excellent Barb, May I know what toothpaste you use? I clean twice a day and do flossing everyday and vistit dentist once in 4 months. But still not good. I eat whole plant food

      1. sukumar, I have been getting the best results so far with Jason “Healthy Mouth” fluoride and SLS free toothpaste. Just a pea-size amount will do great. And I use the green tea for swishing like a mouth wash especially at night. I hope you get good results sukumar

  4. I want to play devil’s advocate for a minute (knowing that I’ll probably regret it later).

    Let’s say I wanted to do a randomized, controlled trial, like the one described at t=0:47f, where I started with 1062 seven month old infants randomized into experimental and control groups (not influenced by the lifestyle values of the parents). Now, the idea is to ask the parents to maintain experimental and control dietary conditions for 20 years for these children and keep a record of food intake, to wit: “dietary intakes of carbohydrates, protein, saturated fat, calcium, phosphate, and fibre were regularly recorded using 4-day food records.” Then roughly a hundred children were interviewed at ages 3, 6, 9, 12, and 16 to get some data points for the study. Hmmmm.

    Ok. have you ever tried to keep a “food intake log” before? I have. On a few occasions I have tried to keep a daily food log to try to isolate something that was causing a problem of some sort. I think I was lucky to make a week of record keeping before I got tired of it and abandoned it.

    And then there’s another factor:

    I understand that in this study (which I did not read) no effort was made to divide the children according to the lifestyle preferences of the parents… So if a child’s parents ate Big Macs, French fries, and milkshakes, and the child was selected to be in the experimental group, how likely is it that over 20 years the parents would expose the child to sustained experimental conditions and also get a complete log book of historical data?

    1. My eyes glaze over whenever I read so-called results from various tests or surveys. Grain of salt/discernment time again.

      “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    2. Nothing wrong with that Dr. Cobalt! It’s good to be critical of all studies as long as we are careful to keep our biases in check and an open mind.

    3. Dr Cobalt,

      I agree with you about food journals. The concept that people kept them accurately for 20 years seems highly unlikely.

      I have tried a few times, using sites like SparkPeople and would do well for about 3 to 6 months, but it was always so time-consuming. I would generally not even know that I stopped keeping track until months later. Being a part of that community, most people don’t stick with the tracking for years. I interacted with some very sweet people. Then, they disappeared. Then, I disappeared. Then, when I came back a year later, everybody I interacted with had disappeared and a few of us were just starting over again at the exact same “re-starting” point.

      Unless they selected military people or some other highly, highly disciplined group, it just is hard to keep records for decades.

      Unless they had someone else keeping track for them.

      I have even done pre-packaged foods and everybody stops those about the same 3 to 6 months, too.

    4. The big problem i have with the study starting with 7 month old infants is- that it is tantamount to child abuse! Babies, yes, they are babies! at that age, and should be on breast milk, period.
      Which, btw, is naturally high in -saturated fat- !!! It’s there to promote the Brain Health of the growing child.
      Just exactly how did they lower ‘dietary fat and cholesterol’? Ugh! Disgusting!

  5. There was a time when I put a drop of clove in my mouth when going out, just to make sure my breath didn’t offend. Later, after consuming a swig of beet root juice twice a day or more, I just sort of drifted away from the clove drop. Now and again I’ll cup my hand in front of my mouth and blow… nothing offensive in my breath, ever.

      1. YR, wow, now that’s a classic commercial! And just as blurry as the original TV sets … no 4K HD super OLED pictures then ;-)

        And these products remind me of Dr G’s videos on using green tea as a mouthwash … kills the bad “germs” but not he good as the commercial products do.

        https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/01/21/making-your-own-mouthwash/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/whats-the-best-mouthwash/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dont-use-antiseptic-mouthwash/

        1. That commercial made me laugh out loud.

          Poor Marge.

          I loved the facial expressions! LOL!

          Fascinating that it compared itself to chlorophyll. That was probably what people were using before then.

        1. Nancy, If you mean the voice/voice-over, I don’t think it was Jack’s. He had a very distinctive (Taurus) voice. The guy in the commercial does look a wee bit like him though. Lots of famous singers were born under the sign of Taurus. They have beautiful speaking/singing voices, on the whole — one thing in their favor, at least. :-).

          Yeah, Jack was around during the good times on TV. So many greats back then — Steve Allen, etc. Who is there now?

        2. Nancy,

          I read a question which said, “Why do all of the announcers in the 1950’s sound the same?”

          made me laugh.

          Creepy narrator voice can say things people don’t dare say.

    1. Best way to know your breath: lick your inner wrist from far back on your tongue. Wave around to dry a few seconds. Sniff. Try not to hurl.
      Try both and compare.

      1. Kim,

        I have never heard that one, but I immediately had the thought that I sneeze and cough a little too close to that part of my arm. In fact, now that I have gotten older, I think I cough directly onto my inner wrist when I don’t make it to my elbow region.

        It is also where I put essential oils when I use them.

        I will have to smell a tongue scraper, but I do feel like my breath tastes better and that is probably a clue to the smell improving.

      2. Try not to hurl.
        ———————-
        Hah! this started me thinking, trying to remember the last time I hurled. It must have been 5 to 10 years ago and IIRC, I thought at the time I experienced a mild case of food poisoning.

        But I also began thinking more about my mouth in re: germs. I’ve concluded that my habit of drinking teas of different ilks as my primary beverage, and adding bergamot water, oregano water, and cilantro + chlorella drops as a minimum addition to almost every cup I drink of tea made using distilled/magnetized/hydrogen-enhanced water may have a huge bearing on my smell-test.

        Not only that but I also consume beet root juice at least twice daily, sometimes more… and this is known to somehow get back from the stomach to combine with saliva which if the nitrate intake from greens as mentioned in the video works the same way, should ameliorate any semblance of a bad odor.

        I remember watching an episode of “The Frugal Gourmet” years ago and he had just come back from China. The Chinese people he talked to while there indicated that Americans smell accordingly to their intake of meat. At that time the Chinese still mostly used meat as a condiment to their dishes instead of consuming meat as their main dish.

        1. Lonie,

          I can’t remember the last time I hurled either. I got colds this year via an 8 year old, but I haven’t been sick in so long other than that.

          Oh wait, I forgot coconut oil! I have hurled, but not from the flu or food poisoning.

  6. It’s true that a body running on a clean, plant based diet is going to be optimal for staying fresh. Just imagine what would happen to a city if the plumbing and septic systems were to become backed up – as proof, simply visit a large 3rd world city. Same thing happens with a person when they clog up their arteries, digestive, and pores of skin with animal fats.. they are going to be all congested.

    But if you really want to get to the bottom of Halitosis, the study would need to include “how a person thinks”. Greedy, lusty, angry, happy, loving, thoughts all come with their own smell. A while back I was watching a reality tv program, and one person living in the house was an old porn star. One of the comments made by his roommate was that the whole room stunk. He commented that he just washed all of his clothes – no doubt he heard that comment before.

    1. “Greedy, lusty, angry, happy, loving, thoughts all come with their own smell.”
      – – – –

      SO true, that.

      1. Perhaps, but they also come with their own behaviors, which come with their own smell.

        I wonder if I saw that reality program. Was it with Tammy Faye Baker and the porn guy?

        I never watch those things, but it was on the tv guide channel, back before I got rid of cable and I ended up being totally fascinated.

        I am a Christian but I never followed the Bakers or any TV minister all that much. Occasionally, I land on Joseph Prince or something and pause. I think I wanted to see how Tammy Faye Baker interacted as a Christian, particularly when put in the same episode as a porn star. She did pretty well. I saw sincerity in her faith and that she wasn’t a highly judgmental person. Made me end up looking back as myself to see if I was a judgmental person.

  7. Is chewing better than blending? It’s easier for me to blend my greens than it is to prep and chew them. I’ll blend 3-4 cups of mixed “Super Greens”- kale, spinach, chard and arugula in freshly juiced grapefruit (with pulp) and a little frozen blueberries for sweetness and enjoy the drink. Would I still get the nitrate/nitrite effects from the blending? Thank you for the videos!

    1. I scrolled up and looked and I always love fruit and vegetable spreads. I am so attracted to oranges. Even seeing them in photographs, they make me happy. I use them instead of essential oils and they just do make me so happy.

      1. That’s cool, Deb. I think enjoying the aromatherapy essence of food just adds to their overall health benefits and I’m sure that appreciation and happiness is good for the telomeres! :)

        1. There are sooooo many varieties of oranges!

          I can’t remember more than 2 when I was growing up.

          I love Cara Cara and Clementines and so many of them.

          I love trying new ones and I was never like that before.

          I paused for my teeth, but I did buy some this week. Maybe subliminally inspired by this image.

  8. Even with a good diet as above, it makes such a difference to get your tongue clean every day. Find something with a nice edge to carve off the white stuff in one swoop. A teaspoon with a not-so-smooth edge is excellent. Ever seen a sweat scraper used on a hot horse? Same thing. Brushing your tongue is gaggy and a poor second for results.

    1. Gaggy is a good word.

      They do sell tongue scrapers.

      I used to use them.

      Haven’t for a while.

      I don’t feel like my tongue is as bad as it used to be.

    2. Kim, to tell you the truth, while I own a tongue scraper, I rarely find a purpose for it. I swear it’s like the foods I eat are cleansing and the acids just don’t stick around for long. I do swish with water after eating, it’s a habit at this point. Tongue is always nice and pink.

  9. My teeth and gums have gotten SO healthy since going plant based and my mouth always feels fresh, even upon waking. I’ve completely contributed this to my diet. This provided a lot of cool insight into the reasoning behind that. It also simply seems to me that when the body is clean from a natural (to our physiology, I mean) and healthy diet, the better your hygiene. They sell all these special cleansing soaps for women, body sprays for men, antiperspirants, etc… and I just think… if these people would just try eating WFPB… To me it’s like health is real beauty (makeup be damned) as well as optimal hygiene which the products everyone buys aspires towards. Of course that is not to suggest that those will illnesses are not beautiful or hygienic, I’m just referring to how much better the body does and how these things show, when we eat the diet clearly intended for us and stop dirtying it up with what’s not.

    1. with* not will. All the products I briefly mentioned remind me of febreez… they don’t actually do anything, they’re just meant to cover something up.

      1. S,

        I agree. I don’t wake up with bad breath taste in my mouth anymore.

        I hadn’t thought about the smell, but I am aware of the lack of morning breath taste.

        You mention the PH and I hadn’t thought about it from that background.

        Either way, I believe the mouth microbiome improving.means that there are better bacteria hanging out on the tongue, but scrape away if you want.

      2. All the products I briefly mentioned remind me of febreez… they don’t actually do anything, they’re just meant to cover something up.
        ————————————————————————————————
        Products like febreez or otherwise perfumed products are smells that would drive me from a room if I smelled them. Some perfumes that women wear would have a similar effect but not all. Men’s cologne I certainly did not wear and I remember one person in a group I had coffee with would stop me up by the smell of his cologne. I finally said something and he quit wearing it on our coffee day. Luckily, another member of our group also was put off by shaving lotion smell and helped make the point to the offender in question.

        My sister’s husband died a few years ago and she gave me all his pajamas. Before I could wear any of them I had to hang them on the clothes line for a few days to get the perfumy smell from the soap used by their maid out of them. I see those chemical smells as VOCs… Volatile Organic Compounds, and personally view them as a health hazard.

        1. Same here, Lonie! Since taking the natural approach to things, it didn’t take long before I couldn’t stand these chemical scents. They smell horrible to me and I view them the same has you, as health hazards.

  10. This is not a comment, but rather a suggestion for a future video by Dr. Greger. My family has been eating a plant-based diet for many years, but I’m wondering about possible inherent dangers to this. While we try to limit ourselves, we do use many of the faux meat, cheese, and dairy products (e.g. soy creamer and Daiya salad dressings) that are readily available these days. One of our sons recently found out at his physical that his cholesterol was verging at the “high” range. This surprised all of us, since he regularly eats soy, flaxseed, and other plants that supposedly control cholesterol. We’re wondering if Earth Balance butter substitute could be the culprit? What about other processed vegan food? A general report on the possible disadvantages of ‘analog’ products would be very welcome! Thank you!

    1. Kathy, Earth Balance could very well be the culprit. Earth Balance contains palm oil which is horrible, horrible stuff known for its ability to raise cholesterol. I suspect it is worse than coconut oil and horrible stuff from an ethical standpoint including companies’ whose sources are purported to be “sustainable.”

      If using oils, try using extra virgin olive oil instead or cooking with higher heat resistant oil like avocado and of course, use in moderation. On the holidays, I use Miyoko’s, it’s much more natural and ethical than EB and it also contains actual cashews, so the whole thing of it isn’t completely made up of oil.

      1. Also, going completely on memory, there is a video here (wish I could remember the title!) showing how the dairy industry tried to prove that vegan cheese alternatives (they used Daiya) was no better than eating dairy cheese, but in order to get the same outcome, they had to supplement the Daiya-eating group with palm oil lol. Anyways, this is all from memory, for the most accurate info, you’d have to watch the video–sorry I can’t remember the title!

    2. Kathy Coughlin, Dr Greger has addressed that topic in a number of videos, directly and indirectly. Here in this interview Dr Greger is speaking about the difference between eating whole plant foods and veganism. That is, the goal is to eat foods as grown, with as little processing as possible. Oils are not recommended for several reasons, not the least of which is harm to the lining of our arteries.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lyR9T_86pxg

      For a more detailed look, this video take a look at the Daily Dozen (you can download the app too for free). Soy foods, like soy milk, tofu, and edemame are preferred over meat analogues. I have never tried a fake meat product, or fake dairy, but do enjoy the whole fresh foods described in this video.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

    3. Hi I’m a health support volunteer. Thanks for your great suggestion. This is why the term “whole plant based food” is preferred to vegan. Vegan only says what you don’t eat. There are plenty of unhealthy vegan foods. The processed vegan foods you are describing are not whole plant foods. They are highly processed and are often full of trans fats which raise cholesterol. Oils, even “healthy oils” like olive oil and Earth Balance spread are not health promoting and can raise cholesterol. The isolated soy protein found in may faux meat, also may raise cholesterol. They are not “green light foods” according to Dr. Greger’s Traffic Light System
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dining-by-traffic-light-green-is-for-go-red-is-for-stop/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/

      Whole plant foods, such as those on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. Whole plant foods such as this, should reduce cholesterol and promote maximum health.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist-2/

      All the best.
      NurseKelly

  11. Kathy Coughlin,

    Dr. Greger recommends not only plant based foods, but also whole foods — which means minimal to no processed foods. The faux meat, dairy, and cheese products you refer to are processed, some highly processed. Processed foods tend to contain high amounts of added sugars, salt, and oil, as well as other refined carbohydrates and other processed ingredients and synthetic chemicals. We don’t eat them for these reasons. I looked up both the ingredient list and nutrient table of Impossible Burger, which we tried at a vegan restaurant, and was shocked by the high amounts of saturated fats and other oils, and salt — but we could taste that it was waaaay too salty. I guess the bottom line is to suggest reading the ingredient list and ask: Do I want to eat that? Ditto for the nutrient table.

    Better options are foods that you buy whole and prepare at home. Veggie patties are great, and fairly easy to make. Same with salad dressings — I’ve found great recipes for salt and oil-free ones. Some folks make “cheeze” sauces, etc from cashes, nutritional yeast, etc, and plant milks make a great substitute for dairy products. I make my own yogurt at home from EdenSoy (made only from water and organic soybeans) and starter culture, to avoid all the added sugar, sweeteners and other additives in store-bought yogurt. But basically, we prepare dishes from legumes and whole grains, and don’t try to mimic animal foods at all. And we add minimal to no salt, sugar, and oils, using more spices, fruits, and water instead.

    1. Thank you! This is not a surprising response, but also not a welcome one! I do make many dishes from scratch, using whole plants, but it becomes a matter of TIME. My husband doesn’t cook, and while I enjoy it, I also enjoy many other things in life. Resolving NEVER to use store-bought ‘processed’ foods would feel like voluntarily imprisoning myself in the kitchen. Yet, knowing the pitfalls of processed vegan foods ramps up my motivation!

      1. Kathy, I hear where you’re coming from. My approach would be to simply try to eat as whole foods orientated as possible and when you’re getting prepared foods, look for better options. Hilary’s makes some good frozen stuff (unfortunately I can’t eat them due to my rare allergy to psyllium husk).
        I’m personally not convinced that going completely oil free or completely salt free is necessary or necessarily optimal in a healthy person, so my personal approach is to use these things in moderation and always pair them with high fiber, high antioxidant plant foods. A simpler dressing for you might be an extra virgin olive oil (but make sure it’s authentic, I use Braggs) and red wine/balsamic vinegar mix with added herbs. And sometimes just grinding up cashews or sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder, tossing that in with your salad and adding some red wine or balsamic vinegar is an easy and quick option and makes for a creamy-dressed salad.
        Cooking WFPB doesn’t always have to be hard. Veggies, beans, and rice is an awesome and simple dinner.
        One of my favorite fast go-to dinners is Lundberg brown jasmine rice with some evoo, some Himalayan salt and garlic powder to taste with some steamed baby bella/crimini mushrooms, broccoli florettes and raw chopped green onions. I usually eat my frozen shelled edamame beans with this.
        And I know Dr. Greger doesn’t reccomend oil so I’m not undermining his reccomendations, just sharing where I go with it.
        Because of his information I began using these things more conscientioysly and made smarter choices like avoiding coconut oil and well, I already avoided palm oil.
        When beans are a staple, it can make things incredibly simple, plus they’re amazing in helping to lower cholesterol.

          1. And if you haven’t yet, try replacing processed cheese replacements by simply sprinkling on nutritional yeast. There’s lots of incredible “cheese” recipes out there, but using it alone is not only easy but adds an incredible cheese flavor all on its own.

            1. Yes, I use a lot of nutritional yeast, and we wouldn’t think of eating popcorn without it! I actually already do follow all the suggestions given to me; I just don’t follow them ALL THE TIME! I really can’t picture making our favorite Friday night dinner–homemade pizza (already a bit labor-intensive, since I make my own crust)–by first making the cheese!
              For now, I will keep some processed vegan foods in our menus, but try to do so less often.

              1. Hmm, sorry if there are multiple posts, my comment won’t show up… was trying to reply in saying it’s kind of similar to Dr. Greger’s “Dining by Traffic Light” video.

  12. This is just a general wish, but I really do wish everything with an ingredients list (and even a value posted for fruits and veggies for anyone not wanting to do an internet search when buying) would have the pH listed.

    O.K., now back to your regularly scheduled topic.

  13. Good day, thanks for all the great videos on so many topics.
    I was wondering if any one has come across this.
    I have been a vegan for atleast 10+++ years. Love it, have tremendous amounts of energy.
    Just recently I have started to get what I think is, acid reflux. Pain in the check and my esophagus burns. This is not every minute, not quite every day. I can swallow just fine and have gone to the dr and my lungs, heart etc are absolutely perfect. I have been eating the same, no drastic changes.
    I read somewhere, that vegans can actually not have enough stomach acid and this might be a case.
    If anyone has experienced this or has some helpful information please let me know. I am tracking what I eat now and maybe that will help. I have spoken to several people and they said that as you get older your body cannot tolerate certain foods. Is there anything left to tolerate being a vegan? Thanks

  14. Hi Barbara – Thanks for your question! That is great to hear you’ve already started tracking your food intake to help see if there are any patterns with certain “trigger foods” that are worsening your reflux. Since you already eat a plant-based diet and exclude meat, continue to focus on eating lots of high-fiber foods (beans, fruits, veggies, whole grains) and be conscious of your intake of high fat foods (which can worsen reflux symptoms). Other helpful tips for GERD often include: make sure you sit upright for at least one hour after eating a meal/snack, wear loose-fitting clothing when eating, limit/avoid any alcohol and caffeinated beverages, and monitor if foods like chocolate, peppermint, or black pepper worsen your symptoms. Your body should still be able to tolerate a wide variety of foods and it is good news that this is not a problem that occurs everyday for you. I hope this helps!

    Janelle RD – Registered Dietitian & NutritionFacts.org Health Support Volunteer

  15. Hello,
    I already eat a whole food plant based diet and my breath has been horrible for years. What else does he recommend for bad breath? I also brush and floss with natural toothpaste.

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