Archive by Author

Drinking Aids Review Including New handSteady

Drinking aids for Disabled People Reviewed

Drinking aids offer important, everyday assistance to those with health conditions such as tremors, Parkinsons and Cerebral Palsy. There are many innovative yet simple drinking aids available, and the newest one on the market is “handSteady”.

The handSteady drinking aid is a drinks cup with a rotatable handle. Even though many everyday items have evolved in terms of design, it would seem that the humble cup has remained the same for centuries. Although many people find drinking from a normal cup easy, if you suffer from dexterity issues, tremors, weakness or muscle pain you will find that fixed-handled cups can cause pain and other difficulties.

Creating the handSteady Drinking Aid

drinking aids for the elderly, Chris Peacock stood infront of a brick wall, holding his handSteady cup and its box.

The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock

The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock, an inventor and Physics graduate from Southampton. After one of his closest family members had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, they found that it affected their ability to drink. It was at this point that Chris looked around for options for Parkinson’s drinking aids to no avail, and he knew he should use his creative talents to fill this much neglected gap in the market.

Designing a new adaptive drinking aid

Chris started upon a post-graduate Masters in Industrial Design Engineering, and decided to base his studies on creating a new drinking aid for not only his relative, but millions of others in need of extra help with drinking.

Chris’ project garnered support from a number of influential and acclaimed innovations institutions, including a Dyson Scholarship, a Kenny Yip Award and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Scholarship.

The result of Chris’ hard work, innovative thinking and scholarly support was the new handSteady drinking aid.

How Does the handSteady Work?

Often the most simple of ideas can revolutionise the world, and the handSteady is set to do just that. The handle of the handSteady cup is rotatable. This means that instead of having to hold a cup at an uncomfortable angle, the handle can be tilted to suit your specific needs.

The handSteady cup self-levels and will stay upright until you’re ready to drink, no matter what angle you hold it at. You do not have to twist your wrist to bring the cup to your mouth helping to

geriatric drinking aids infographic showing a hand holding the handSteady cup with information about how it works.

The handSteady drinking aid stays upright, is easy to tilt and always keeps steady.

reduce pain. Other everyday cups force the user to keep the cup in an upright position, and if you suffer from tremors or muscle weakness or rigidity, this can often mean that spillage can occur very easily.

With the handSteady drinking aid cup, you no longer need to twist and bend your wrist to take a drink. The rotating motion of the handSteady handle means that you do not have to tilt your head backwards, or rely on elbow or wrist action to take a sip of liquid. The cup can be tilted using your other hand, your thumb or simply by using your lips.

The handSteady cup is ideal for those with tremors or hand coordination problems. By rotating the handle 90 degrees, it can be carried whilst walking with a reduced chance of spillage. It also allows for limited elbow movement when moving the cup towards your mouth for a drink. Providing users with the ability to keep their elbows close to their sides whilst drinking can help to eliminate tremors that would otherwise cause drink to spill.

The Benefits of Using a handSteady Cup

Having problems with the simple act of drinking can cause many people to feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Having little control over your movements can cause drink to spill easily, staining clothes and furniture. It is for this reason those with certain health conditions feel anxious about going out with friends and family to drink in public. However, the design of the handSteady provides not only a practical and effective drinking aid, but also a piece of mind for those that use it. The assurance that drinks will no longer spill due to tremors or muscle weakness can provide independence and dignity, whilst providing an easy and comfortable drinking experience.

The handSteady drinking aid is an ideal alternative cup for those with:

  • Tremors
  • Limited Dexterity or Slowness of Movement
  • Swallowing Difficulties
  • Joint or Muscle Pain, Stiffness or Weakness such as Arthritis

 

handSteady’s Innovative and Inclusive Design

medical drinking aids. Image of the handSteady cup with a list of features including 1. Curved Rim, 2. State of the art materials, 3. Rotatable handle, 4. Ergonomic geometry, 5. Double Arc handle

The handSteady uses state of the art materials and design to ensure spillage is at a minimum.

When Chris Peacock designed the handSteady it was to first and foremost serve a purpose and help people to drink easily. However, he was also passionate about creating a product that looked as good as it functioned. The elegant design of the handSteady is based upon the traditional bone china cup many of us use on a daily basis. The innovative materials used to create the handSteady reflect the delicate colouring of bone china and also make it 31% lighter than normal cups. This provides even more ease of use and comfort, especially for those that suffer from muscle weakness or stiffness. The handSteady also boasts a number of other benefits, including a large handle with a guard to prevent hot drinks burning your hands, that is big enough to be held in the “power grip” hold.

The cup also features an ingenious curved rim, that guides liquids to the centre of the mouth when drinking, and ensures liquid returns to the cup to avoid dripping. Each of the handSteady drinking aid cups can hold 250ml of liquid, is insulated to keep drink cooler/warmer for longer, is stain resistant and can be conveniently cleaned in a dish washer.

The new handSteady drinking aid is truly a revolution in everyday design, and solves a number of drinking problems that had yet to be tackled without the use of tubes or straws.

To purchase the fantastic handSteady drinking aid or for more information, visit Chris’ site handsteady.com.

 

Other Drinking Aids Currently Available

Now we’ve covered the new handSteady, let’s take a look at some of the other innovative and practical drinking aids available on the market.

The Hydrant 1 litre with Straw

Image is a photograph of the Hydrant drinks bottle with drinking tube and clip

Created and developed by Mark Moran, the Hydrant is a water / drinks bottle with a twist. This drinking aid is a bottle with a unique one-piece cap/clip/handle that can be secured on to almost any equipment including beds, wheelchairs, bikes and more. The user can drink from the bottle with ease using the drinking tube that fits securely to the Hydrant bottle. Having this ability to drink through a tube means those that are weak or struggle to hold a cup or bottle can simply sip through the straw with ease. Not having to reach for a drink and having the Hydrant by your side helps to keep patients hydrated and comfortable.
Much like the handSteady, the Hydrant provides independence so that the user doesn’t have to rely on asking for help when they need a drink. The Hydrant holds 1 litre of liquid and the drinking tube includes a special bite valve that opens under pressure, allowing the user to drink at a comfortable pace. Once the bite valve is released, the tube closes to avoid leaking and spillage of liquids.
Click here to purchase the Hydrant 1 litre drinks bottle with bite-valve tube.

The DUO Cup Holder

Image of a white mug with the DUO providing a second handle.

Ergonomic DUO can be easily attached to a regular mug or cup.

The basis of the DUO cup holder is that it adds an extra handle to your favourite cup. Making your cup or mug two-handed is ideal for those that struggle to grip and hold a cup using only one handle. Rather than having to purchase new two-handled mugs or cups, you can now transform your favourite everyday cup with the DUO.
The DUO will safely and securely fit around your mug of choice, and the ergonomically shaped handle provides a steady and study grip whilst also protecting your hands from hot drinks. The DUO can also be attached to glasses as well as ceramics, and this ability to adapt drink ware you already own is not only easy to do, but also cost effective in the long term. Click here to purchase the Duo cup holder.

Easi 2 Drink Anti-spillage Drinking Aid Insert

wheelchair drinking aid with ladies hand holding a yellow mug with tea and a Easi 2 Drink aid inside.

The Easi 2 Drink insert restricts wave motion and the tendency for liquid to spill.

The Easi 2 Drink is a white plastic device which can be inserted inside of mugs and glasses to help reduce spillage. It was specifically designed to help those with tremors or coordination problems drink without spilling liquids. The Easi 2 Drink anti-spillage aid can be placed inside any standard sized mug or tumbler, and the unique shape of the device helps to restrict the swaying motion of liquids. This in turn helps to avoid spillage for those who struggle to hold a cup steady.
The Easi 2 Drink Anti-Spillage aid can be easily inserted in to any cup, mug or glass and can be removed for cleaning. The handy pocket-size design means you can carry it with you anywhere and easily adapt any drinking vessel without needing to carry a special cup or bottle. The Easi 2 Drink can withstand liquids from 0-100 degrees Celsius and is available to purchase here.

Ornamin Thermo Safe Mug

Image of the blue version of the Ornamin Thermo Safe MugThe Ornamin Thermo Safe Mug is a stylish and modern looking drinking aid that keeps drinks hot or cold for longer. The large, easy to hold handle provides enough room to be held via the “power grip” hand position and is ideal for those with arthritis. The Ornamin Thermo Safe Mug is insulated yet lightweight, and has been designed in a special cone shape which makes drinking easier for those with limited movement of the neck.
The bold, bright body of the mug contrasts with the white rim, which makes it easier for the user to see the top of the mug.
Ornamin Thermo Safe Mugs come in a whole plethora of colours (including yellow, blackberry, petrol and green), and comes equipped with a removable, spouted lid. Each mug can hold up to 140ml of liquid and is microwave safe.

If your drink of choice is usually tea or coffee, check out our previous post about safer alternatives to disposable hot drinks cups.

Strawberi Straw Holder

Image of a red Strawberi straw holder holding a green straw in a glass.

Strawberi is an award winning straw holder that grasps a straw securely against the side of a glass or cup.


Strawberi straw holders are a simple yet ingenious little device that attaches to the side of your glass to keep your straw in place. The Strawberi keeps your straw steady and upright, which means you can drink hands free and not have to worry about the straw moving about. This is ideal for those with tremors or muscle weakness. The Strawberi drinking straw holder can be attached to any type of drinking cup or glass and helps to eliminate any stress or mess that can be caused by trying to keep the straw in the right position.
The Strawberi is also perfect for young children who are learning to suck via a straw and the added bonus is that they are dishwasher safe for extra cleanliness and time-saving.

And finally…Thirst Aid Helmet Drinking Hat!

Image of plastic helmet hats with holsters on the sides for holding cans of drink.

Contemporary style, ultimate functionality – hands-free drinking aid the Thirst Aid Helmet

Or, if none of the innovative and practical drinking aids we’ve mentioned so far take your fancy, why not opt for the classic Thirst Aid Helmet?! Hat AND drinking aid in one, the Thirst Aid Helmet offers multifunctional practicality unrivalled by any other drinks-hat on the market. Hands-free hydration has never been so simple – avoid spillages and unnecessary fumbling for the nearest beverage with your choice of bottle or can firmly attached to your head. The Thirst Aid Helmet allows you to holster either a bottle or can firmly to either side of your head, and once the drinking tubes have been inserted, you are left entirely hands-free for anything you desire. Ideal for sports events, drinking on the go or even relaxing at home, the Thirst Aid Helmet is the ultimate in style and functionality. This may seem like a bit of fun, but hey, if  it works for you then why not?

😉

Please tell us what is your favourite drinking aid in the comments below:

Religious Fasting Spiritual and Physical Benefits

Religious Fasting Spiritual and Physical Benefits

Religious fasting is the traditional practise of abstaining from eating food for an extended period of time. It is said that fasting for religious reasons can make one feel more spiritual and connected to God. There are many different religions that take part in regular fasting. Certain Christian groups fast each week, along with Muslim people and those of the Jewish faith.

The idea of a fasting diet may seem like a modern fad to many in the Western world, however in other continents fasting has been part of daily life for centuries.

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet is a book that was recently released by Dr Michael Mosley. The book offers advice and tips for maintaining an intermittent fasting diet to aid weight loss. Intermittent fasting is also known as the 5:2 diet. This involves restricting calorie intake for 2 non-consecutive days per week. On these “fasting” days you must eat less than 500 calories. However, on the other 5 days you may eat as you wish. Due to the overwhelming success of the Fast Diet book, an informative and handy book of Fast Diet recipes has now been published. The recipes allow you keep below 500 calories without getting too bored of the calorie restrictive dishes. This fasting approach to weight loss has gained the attention of many fans and we have covered the topic in full here in our The Fast Diet post.

 

Religious Fasting

Although religious fasting does have weight loss benefits, this is not the reason why many take part in fasting as part of their culture or religion.

In this blog we will cover why people fast for religious reasons, and both the spiritual and physical benefits of religious fasting.

Religious Fasting Definition

According to wikipedia, the act of fasting is described as:

[the] primarily an act of willing abstention from all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day (24 hours), or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive, limiting particular foods or substance. The fast may also be intermittent in nature.

In terms of religious fasting, this usually takes place intermittently.

Christian Fasting

Black and white photograph of an open bible on an empty plate, with cutlery either side.

Religious fasting relates to spirituality rather than weight loss

Fasting is mentioned several times within the bible. Religious fasting is part of everyday life for a number of Christian communities. Catholics for example take part in partial fasts that deny them certain food types, this generally takes place during Lent and lasts 40 days.

In Classical Pentecostal churches, religious fasting is more common. Many people of the Pentecostal faith take part in weekly fasts. It is said that fasting helps to cleanse the soul and bring a calm mind. This in turn brings one closer to God and can help strengthen your empathy and understanding of the greater spiritual meaning of life.

Mormon Fast Sunday

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take part in a total fast of food and drink. This usually takes place on the first Sunday of each month. During this fasting period, members will miss two consecutive meals, missing 24 hours of food.

Hindu Fasting

Fasting for spiritual reasons is a very important part of Hinduism. There are different fasts that are observed by each member of the faith, and it is a personal choice which they take part in.
Often people of the Hindu faith will choose to fast on the day of the week that corresponds with their favourite deity. For example, those that worship Shiva will fast on a Monday. Whereas members who follow Vishnu will instead fast on a Thursday.

Islam and Fasting

Fasting is one of the most crucial aspects of the Islamic faith. Fasting is considered the fourth of the “Five Pillars of Islam”. The Five Pillars of Islam are similar to the “10 Commandments” of Christian faith. The Five Pillars of Islam are 5 basic acts that must be followed and create the foundation of Muslim life.
The most notable period of fasting is known as Ramadan – the holy month. During Ramandan followers of the faith should not eat nor drink from dawn until sunset.

Judaism and Fasting

Religious fasting for Jews involves not eating any food or consuming any drink, even water. Orthodox Jews usually fast for 6 days a year. The most important and well-known day of fasting for those of Jewish faith is Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, every Jew must fast entirely. The afternoon before Yom Kippur sees Jews take part in a large and festive feast in lieu of the upcoming fast.

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Although each religion takes a different approach to fasting, they all have one thing in common – prayer. Prayer and spiritual strength are the primary reasons why people of all faiths take part in fasting. There are other physical benefits of fasting which we will cover later in this post, however this is not the intention of religious fasting.

Spiritual Fasting and Prayer

Many members of each different fasting faith will argue that fasting has no importance without the inclusion of prayer. As interviewed on the Radio 4 broadcast on the subject of religious fasting, Pastor Grace Komolafe talks about the spiritual benefits of fasting:

“Fasting is so beneficial for us, every Christian, so that, that will keep us calm. It will actually detox us because we need to be detoxed, not only from all the toxin but from unbelief. When you fast, you discover that on your spirit is just lifted up. You know, you understand the word of God more. You have more revelation of the word of God. Fasting should be put back on the menu of the church because it is our inheritance. In fact, fasting is an instrument of humbling.”

 

The Physical Benefits of Fasting

The number one benefit that tempts people into a fasting diet regime is the prospect of weight loss. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help decrease central weight loss far better than other diets.

Fasting Diet and Weight Loss

Image of a knife and fork wrapped in a tape measure upon a yellow napkin

Restricting calorie intake through intermittent fasting has been proven to drastically improve weight loss.

Mark Mattson, Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University has done numerous research into the study of fasting diets.
A recent study involved monitoring the weight loss of 100 women via three different methods of diet. A third would eat normally, a third would have a low calorie diet and the final third would take part in intermittent fasting. The results from this study were astoundingly in favour of the intermittent or 5:2 style of fasting.

[the women] were on the diets for six months, and what we found is that as expected, both energy restricted groups lost weight. But we found that the group on a diet that we’re calling the 5:2 diet, the women, they lost more belly fat and their glucose regulation was improved, so that they were able to maintain lower blood glucose levels.

Fasting Diet Health Benefits

Often loosing a few pounds can essentially increase the health of someone who is overweight. However, fasting diets can also offer more health benefits than just weight loss.
As mentioned previously by Professor Mark Mattson, fasting diet studies showed that not only can they help you to loose weight, but fasting can also lower blood glucose levels and help blood pressure levels.

Mark Mattson goes on to explain the overall health benefits of fasting:

Intermittent fasting will improve glucose regulation and therefore, protect against diabetes. And the reason that happens is that, when you go without food for an extended time period, say 12 to 24 hours, your muscle cells and your liver cells will undergo changes that make them better able to remove glucose from the blood, so that when you do eat, the glucose is rapidly removed and taken up by the cells where it’s needed and used. Another clear fact, that we’ve documented in our animal studies, is that intermittent fasting will lower blood pressure and reduce resting heart rate and enhance ability of heart to respond to stress.

Fasting and Eating Disorders

Image of piles of brightly coloured sweets/candy

Those who suffer from eating disorders such as Bulimia may binge on “comfort” food such as sweets, later to purge them from their system.

Although the act of depriving your body of food can have positive spiritual and physical effects, it can also cause harm if the practise is abused.

Going through cycles of starvation and consumption are familiar to many who suffer eating disorders. Bulimia Nervosa involves “binging and purging“, where the sufferer will firstly binge – a vast consumption of calorific and fatty foods desired by the sufferer. Once the binge has taken place, a period of purging will begin. Those with Bulimia will force themselves to vomit or take harmful doses of laxative to try and ensure they do not gain weight. The purging is triggered by not only a desire to loose weight, but a strong sense of guilt that comes from overconsumption.

Rob Waller, writer at mindandsoul.info, highly recommends the book “A Hunger for God” as a reference to religious fasting. He has also written a blog that explains the similarities and problems that can occur with religious fasting and eating disorders:

A few years ago, I facilitated a six week course on prayer and fasting. As many of the group were in their 20s and many were also female, the topic of eating disorders seemed important to cover. In this article I try to summarise how true Christian fasting might relate to different types of eating disorder…
Read More…

There are a number of blogs we’ve found that cover the problems that can occur when fasting and eating disorders become intertwined and confused. The Pay Now, Live Later blog includes a post examining the faint line between intermittent fasting and eating disorders. Also of note is a cautionary tale of using food to control stressful situations on the Marie Claire health and fitness blog.

Eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia are incredibly harmful eating disorders that abuse the intake and withdrawal of food. There are a number of self-help groups that can help those with eating disorders overcome their problems, such as b-eat and your local GP can also offer you guidance and support.

Religious fasting and intermittent fasting diets can offer fantastic results for health, weight loss and spirituality if not abused. Fasting can improve many aspects of your health, but only if you continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet on the non-fasting days.

Further Information on Religious Fasting

If you would like to read further about the subject of Religious Fasting and the benefits both spiritually and physically, we have compiled a list of recommended book titles below:

Bad Breath Causes and Cures

A photographic image of a man cupping his hand over his mouth to smell if his breath is bad

How do you really know if you have bad breath?

Bad breath can be an embarrassing issue to tackle. Most of us will feel as though we’ve had a bad breath day at some point in our lives. Usually this is fixed by a quick brushing of teeth or swill of mouth wash. However for some dealing with bad breath, or halitosis, can be a socially devastating experience.

 

Bad Breath or ‘Halitosis’ and its Causes

Problems with bad breath do not always start in the mouth. Although oral health is the most likely cause of bad breath, it can also depend on other issues.

Low Carb Diet Bad Breath

What we eat and drink has a huge effect on our breath. Eating foods with a strong flavour, such as garlic and spices can cause temporary bad breath. However many will find that simply cutting down on these ingredients will solve the problem quickly.

Dieting, especially low-carbohydrate based diets, can also cause bad breath. This is because as the body starts to break down fat at a fast rate, chemicals called ketones are produced. These ketones escape through urine and unfortunately, your breath. Ketone-based bad breath has a distinct odour. If you are on a low-carb diet and suffer from bad breath, it is more than likely that ketosis is to blame.

Bad breath is an unfortunate side-effect of dieting. However when the body is producing ketones, it is proof that you are actually burning fat. Products such as Ketostix can show if you are producing ketones. They are dip-sticks for testing levels of ketones in your urine. These will help you find out if your bad breath is ketosis, whilst also providing proof that you are loosing weight via fat loss.

Cigarette Bad Breath

Image showing a set of teeth. The first half of the teeth are healthy without plaque, the second half show receeding gums and plaque build up that causes bad breath.

A build up of dental plaque will cause gum disease, which causes halitosis.

Bad breath is obviously the least important health issue caused by smoking. However, as well as the damage to your lungs, smoking can cause gum disease. Gums can become irritated by smoke, causing further complications such as gum disease. Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, makes gums swollen, infected and painful.
It is mostly noticed when there is blood whilst brushing your teeth. The gum tissue is very sensitive to cigarette smoke, and is eroded over time. This is mostly caused by the extra bacteria in the mouth due to smoking. This bacteria cause plaque, which will deteriorate the gums and then cause bad breath.

The most sensible cure for bad breath due to smoking is obviously to stop smoking. However keeping up to date with dental appointments and maintaining good oral health will help stop cigarette bad breath.

The NHS provides a “Quit kit” to will help you to stop smoking.

Medicines That Cause Bad Breath

There are a number of medicines that cause bad breath. If these drugs are vital to your health, bad breath is an unfortunate yet unavoidable side effect. However if you are deeply concerned about your bad breath, talking to your GP may help. They maybe able to offer you an alternative medicine to avoid getting bad breath.

Post Nasal Drip Bad Breath

Post nasal drip is also known as upper airway cough syndrome. It is caused by an excess production of mucous in the nose. This mucous then gathers in the throat causing bad breath. Post nasal drip can be a side-effect of further health issues, such as sinusitis or swallowing disorders.

Bad Breath in Babies and Children

Children can occasionally fall foul of bad breath, too. As stated by Dr Lewis First in this article for NBC 5 News, the main cause of halitosis in children is tooth decay. Many children dislike having to brush their teeth and see it as a chore. This is why it is important to try and make cleaning their teeth a fun experience.

Children cleaning teeth

Make cleaning teeth fun! Photo Credit: Stuart Berry http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartberry/

There are a range of toothbrushes available to encourage your child to brush. Finding a fun toothbrush for your child will help them take an interest in brushing. Character brushes based on cartoons and toys are a firm winner with most children. Also you will find many of these character brushes include built-in flashing lights. These Barbie and Spiderman toothbrushes light up once activated, not only to entertain, but to also act as a timer. They will flash continuously for 1-2 minutes, ensuring your child has brushed for the right amount of time.

Studies have also found that “mouth breathing” can also contribute towards halitosis in young children. Mouth breathing often takes place when a child is ill with a cold. Their noses become blocked and stuffy, leaving no option other than to breathe mainly through the mouth. The intake of air through the mouth then dries out saliva, leaving bacteria to fester. This is usually a short term problem that is solved once the child no longer has a cold. However taking extra time for brushing during this time can help lessen bad breath.

 

 

Bad Breath and Disease Symptoms

As mentioned previously, bad breath can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Below we cover some of the more common illnesses and conditions that can include bad breath as a symptom.

Halitosis

Halitosis is simply the umbrella term for of all disorders that cause bad breath. This covers everything from morning breath to oral hygiene issues. Morning breath happens for the opposite reason that children suffer bad breath due to mouth breathing. At night the mouth is exposed to less oxygen than during the day time. This lack of oxygen circulating around the mouth again allows the bacteria to breed. This is why ensuring you clean your mouth, teeth and gums properly before bed is so important for oral health.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis is the most common form of dental disease. It is caused by a build-up of plaque that then allows bacteria to grow in the mouth. This bacteria then starts to effect the gums and can lead to periodontitis. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are:

  • bleeding gums, especially when brushing
  • swelling of the gums
  • inflammation
  • changes in the colour of the gums, most notably a dark red colour

It is important to spot and treat gingivitis before it leads to periodontitis. Once periodontitis sets in it can destroy the gums when bacteria travels under the tooth. Teeth can then become loose as the gums become more infected. Eventually this will lead to loss of teeth permanently.
Bad breath caused by gingivitis is easily remedied by keeping on top of oral hygiene. Making visits to your dentist for check-ups and maintaining a good brushing routine.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys are vital organs that help to cleanse the blood and keep your body chemicals balanced. Waste and toxins that are taken into the body through food, air and drink eventually end up in your blood. It is the job of the kidneys to filter the blood of these toxins and then convert them to urine. People with kidney disease will often complain of bad breath. This is because when the kidneys are not functioning properly, they fail to remove toxins from the body. One of these toxins is ammonia, which is found in urine. This build-up of toxins within the body then escapes through the digestive system to the mouth, causing a ‘fishy odour’ in the breath.

Diagram shows an illustration of a liver and how sugars dealt with in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Bad breath occurs for people with type 1 diabetes due to excess ketones caused by lack of insulin.

Diabetes

Bad breath caused by diabetes is related to ketosis, as mentioned in our low carb diet section. However as ketosis is a temporary side-effect of low-carb dieting, diabetic ketoacidosis can be life-threating.
Generally found in people with type 1 diabetes, ketoacidosis is caused by a lack of insulin to convert blood sugars to energy. Instead the body will start metabolising fat stores rather than converting sugars from food. This rapid burning of fat causes an influx of ketones; a byproduct of fat breakdown. The body will then become overwhelmed with ketones which are highly acidic, and change the PH of the blood.
The presence of these ketones within the digestive system then cause bad breath as they escape the body via urine or the mouth. This in turn causes the breath to smell unpleasant. Some people describe this as like the smell of the sweets called ‘pear drops’.

Dogs detecting diabetes in the breath

Specially trained dogs can detect the smell of ketones and are being used to help warn people with diabetes. So called ‘Hypo dogs‘, can alert people before they notice the symptoms themselves and can be especially helpful for small children or people whose glucose levels drop very quickly.

Sinus infection

Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The sinuses are located in several areas in the head. However it is the sinuses in the nose that cause bad breath when infected. Very similar to post nasal drip, the excess mucus produced can build up and allow bacteria to grow. This influx in bacteria produces a bad odour, that is noted as bad breath.

Constipation

When your body fails to pass solid waste on a regular basis this is called constipation. This then slows down the digestive process of food. Undigested food will then remain in the bowls where it becomes toxic and emits gas. This gas will eventually travel back up the digestive system and into the mouth, causing bad breath.
Keeping yourself regular and avoiding constipation is key to preventing bad breath. Statistics show that unto 25% of bad breath cases are caused by constipation. A diet of high fibre, fruit, veg and at least 4-6 glasses of water a day can prevent constipation. However it is also important to remain physically fit if this is possible. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising the middle of the body will keep bowl muscles toned. This in turn will make passing solid waste easier and more regular, avoiding bad breath.

For people who find it hard to eat enough natural fibre, a useful alternative is fybogel drinks or psyllium husks added to food.

Bad Breath Remedies

Image of a man brushing his teeth whilst looking at a clock behind him.

Brushing teeth for at least 2 minutes helps ensure plaque removal.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a bad breath cure. Knowing the cause is your first step before trying to cure it. Disorders such as post nasal drip can often be cured using antibiotics or nasal steroids. However if your bad breath is due to oral hygiene rather than an underlying health condition it might be less simple to cure.

Treating and preventing bad breath should start with your daily brushing routine:

  • Always ensure you spend at least 2 minutes brushing with a quality toothpaste. Pastes such as Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste include natural ingredients that not only freshen but help neutralise plaque acids.
  • Ensure you floss between your teeth every time you brush, to further prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Plaque is the number one cause of gum disease and then bad breath.
  • It will help to brush your tongue as well as your teeth. Using a soft bristle brush for a longer brushing time is advised. The softer brushes cause less damage to gums and the tongue.
  • Use a mouth wash several times a day. It can help to carry a small bottle of mouth wash around with you for between snacks and meals. Brushing your teeth whilst at work or out and about can be difficult. However a quick swill of quality mouth wash between meals will help to dislodge particles of food until you can brush again.
  • Avoid brushing teeth for around 30 minutes after drinking fruit juice. Due to the acid in the juice, brushing straight away can cause further erosion of the teeth.

 

Once you have a solid oral hygiene routine in place, it is advised that you continue to avoid spicy foods, alcohol intake, smoking and coffee drinking. If after 2 weeks you are still suffering from bad breath, it may be time to consult your GP and dentist. They can rule out any underlying health issues that could be the cause of your bad breath.

 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Bad Breath

Although bad breath is a very serious concern for the sufferer, it is not rare for the bad smell to be a psychological issue. Some can become convinced that they suffer bad breath when they actually don’t. In his recent interview with BBC Radio 4, Dr Tim Hodgson says up to 80% of self-referring halitosis patients don’t really have bad breath.
This paranoia of having bad breath is called halitophobia. People can become obsessed with oral hygiene and avoid social situations due to embarrassment of their bad breath. If a dental professional or GP feels halitosis is not present, the patient will be referred for cognitive behavioural therapy.

Diagram showing the cognitive behavioural therapy links between thoughts, feeling, action and behaviour

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps a patient with anxieties to understand the link between how they think, feel and act.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is usually referred to by the initials CBT. CBT is a therapy that involves discussing problems with a professional to find the root of your problems. CBT helps you to examine your emotions, actions and thoughts to understand how they are all interlinked.

Often those that are referred for CBT have at some time in the past suffered from bad breath. However this is usually no longer a problem yet they still think in the same way as they did during that time. Patients create a perception of themselves based on situations that occurred during the previous period of bad breath. This builds an anxiety that makes them concentrate on potential problems related to bad breath.
This is where cognitive behavioural therapy comes in. CBT sessions help the patient to see that their negative actions or negative reactions of those around them are actually caused by their own negative thoughts. This in turn helps the patient to filter all social and emotional information relating to bad breath equally. Rather than concentrating on only the negative they can see and feel, CBT helps them to interpret their apparent bad breath issue in a clearer light.

Products That May Help with Bad Breath

We have compiled a selection of over-the-counter products that are available to treat bad breath. If you have any recommendations or any experience with these products, please comment below.

Some of our top picks are:
TetroBreath Oral Hygiene Kit

This all inclusive oral hygiene kit has garnered fantastic reviews. It includes an oral rinse, tooth gel, tongue scraper and tooth brush all specifically designed to eliminate bad breath.

One of the many five star reviews on amazon comes from bumblebee:

It really does help! I ordered it for my close relative who was feeling really bad about her bad breath and although I really doubted it would help, it worked and I really do recommend that product to anyone who has bad breath! 🙂

Tung Brush for Treating Bad Breath and Tongue Gunk

The Tung Brush is especially designed to remove odour caused by bacteria. The unique design of the flat head and bristles keep the tongue extra clean to avoid bad breath.

This review by amazon reviewer “Me” explains how important tongue hygiene is in combating bad breath:

This product is absolutely amazing. 80% of bad breath comes from the back of your tongue. I’m surprised no one else has thought of this idea. We see tongue scrapers and mouthwashes on the market but we hardly see a good quality tongue brush to clean out tongue.

All the companies want us to buy mouthwashes to clean and freshen out breath, but the truth is that mouthwash just masks your breath for a very short period..that’s it. It won’t remove the bacteria, it won’t scrub it off, it will just stay there.

Now about this Tung Brush. There is also a special kind of zinc tongue gel sample that comes with this brush, which I think is not very good. This is how I use the brush, firstly after brushing your teeth with your toothbrush, apply a strip of normal toothpase (anything that you normally use, I use Aquafresh), then put some water onto it, and then scrub your tongue with it, but only go from back to front motions not back, front, front back etc. But most importantly remember your focus is to clean the very back of your tongue as this is where all the odour smelling bacteria is! This may make you gag a few times, but it is worth it. Afterwards spit, rinse and gargle. And now your tongue and mouth will feel so clean, that your sense of taste will change aswell, it will feel much cleaner and fresher.

You can also buy a Tung tongue scraper from Amazon to use after the Tung brush, this just adds to removing even more bacteria and foul smelling breath.

This is my first review, I wrote it because I think this Tung Brush is an absolute essential for clean and fresh breath. It really will affect your sense of taste.

 

Transcript from Video

00:01 Speaker 1: From bad hair, to bad breath. Halitosis is a tricky problem for us GP’s, not because we’re particularly prone to it, you understand, but because we’re often the last port of call for desperate patients. People complaining of persistent bad breath often end up coming back to their GP after their dentist has checked their mouth and various specialists who have looked at their throats, lungs and stomach. So, what can the GP add if there is no abnormality to find? Well, the first thing he or she can do is actually check that their patient has bad breath. Offering to smell someone’s breath can be embarrassing for both parties but it’s essential, as I discovered when I met Tim Hodgson, Consultant in oral medicine at the Eastern Dental Hospital in London.

00:42 Tim Hodgson: I think the most important thing to say to these individuals is, “Is it there or is it not?” And you’ve got to be very careful how you say it cause often these people are coming to you with a problem that they feel is real. And then, if you turn immediately around to them and say, “This is not real”, you can run into problems. But I think it’s very important within the first discussion to smell the breath cause that’s the gold standard test, and if they haven’t got bad breath you can say at that moment in time they don’t have halitosis but it is possible that in times previously that they had. And it’s often the case that people have halitosis, address their gum health.

01:22 S1: And gum health being the most common cause of it?

01:24 TH: Yeah. And after that they’re left with this perception that they’ve still got halitosis even though they’ve corrected the cause. And that’s sometimes reinforced by family members, friends and relatives. And often they come along with a very considered construct that people on their bus or on the Tube are turning away from them or covering their face or won’t talk to them directly because they feel they’ve got bad breath. And they look, almost looking for people who are avoiding them because of their bad breath.

01:58 S1: And that reinforces their notion that they’ve got bad breath.

01:59 TH: Yeah, it reinforces and helps build a construct in their own head.

02:03 S1: As a rough guide, what sort of proportion of people that you see here with halitosis would, in your mind, not necessarily have a real problem but have a perceived problem? Are they a significant minority?

02:14 TH: I would say probably 80% of patients referred with halitosis to our service don’t have halitosis.

02:21 S1: Do they believe you when you smell their breath and say, “Look, I can’t smell anything”.

02:26 TH: Some do, and others don’t.

02:29 S1: Working along side Tim Hodgson at the Eastern Dental Hospital is clinical psychologist, Claire Daniel.

02:34 Claire Daniel: For some of these people, they may well have had halitosis in the past so they’ve set up this way of thinking is… We work in a cognitive behavioural way which basically looks at the way in which people think, they way in which they feel, what they do and the physical symptoms and how they all interact. So, this patient in the past may well have had halitosis. They’ve set up this belief system thinking about their breath, maybe they’re focusing on their breath. And as Tim said, they’ve had past experiences of people reinforcing that they’ve got halitosis. Now, even if the halitosis disappears some patients may well remain quite anxious about that and so they will keep on focusing on the potential symptoms. And they become very biased in the way in which they see and hear information so they become very focused on the negative stuff that will reinforce their beliefs and will sort of ignore the other bits of information that may well support a more helpful, more realistic way of thinking about their situation.

03:25 S1: So, when a doctor or a dentist tells them that they haven’t got bad breath, they’ll say, “Well, that’s not true or I haven’t got my bad breath today but, trust me, I had it yesterday because I saw someone in the pub wince”.

03:36 CD: Yes, absolutely. So, it’s either, “Well yes, it’s okay today but it wasn’t yesterday or it won’t be tomorrow”. But also, some people initially will be reassured by somebody saying they haven’t got bad breath but, as we know, reassurance is for people who believe they have medical difficulties can only be short-lived for most people. So, they’ll feel very reassured in the consulting room and then will go home and their whole belief system will trigger again, maybe reinforced by the people. So, their anxiety maintains.

04:02 S1: Looking at this from the outside, Tim’s got perhaps the easy part of the job when he says, “Look, I don’t think you have halitosis”, and he then does the referral to you.

04:09 CD: Absolutely.

04:09 S1: And you’ve got to do something about it. It’s quite a complex problem so what can you do and how successful might you be?

04:14 CD: Yeah, it’s very complex. Cognitive behavioural therapy is an anxiety about health in general, we don’t set out to tell people that they’re wrong. We set out to try and help people understand what’s going on. So, we don’t just talk about their physical reported symptoms. We’ll talk about the way in which they’re interpreting things, they way in which they’re thinking about things, and how those interpretations actually may be unhelpful. They might seem helpful to the patients, like go to the doctor, go to the dentist, focus on their breath to check, maybe clean their teeth, but in the long term they can be very unhelpful and maintain the problem. So, we help people to take a broader outlook on their situation. We don’t tell them what it’s not, we help them to understand what it could be and then we help them to develop evidence to support what it could be rather than maybe what it’s not.

05:01 S1: And practically, what is involved and how often do you see them?

05:04 CD: So, we’d see people maybe every week, every two weeks.

05:08 S1: Is this one-on-one?

05:09 CD: Yes, one-on-one, for this particular condition. One-on-one, so one patient with one psychologist for about 50 minutes about, on average about eight times.

05:17 S1: And in terms of success rate, how effective is it?

05:20 CD: I would say, we do help… With particularly halitosis, we probably help about 80-90% of people.

05:28 S1: That’s pretty good.

05:28 CD: But I wouldn’t… But then it’s a continuum, we might help some people just a little bit. And I think with things like anxiety about health, it’s a life-long issue. We’re not just going to suddenly stop people’s anxieties. It’s about helping them to live with uncertainty and live with a degree of anxiety about their condition. So, they’ll still have times when they think their breath smells.

05:46 S1: Clinical psychologist Claire Daniel. Just time to tell you about the next Inside Health when I will be investigating the side effect of cancer treatment…