Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a persistent nuisance, leading to discomfort and embarrassment in social situations. The common kitchen herb parsley contains chemicals that help to freshen bad breath. Eight-five percent of cases result from an oral condition such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
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Causes of Bad Breath
Culprits of bad breath include poor oral hygiene, which gives bacteria in your mouth a longer time to ferment food particles. This can produce smelly sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide. Smoking is another likely cause of halitosis. Some diseases such as acute kidney failure and diabetes may be linked to bad breath.
The most common type of parsley is curly parsley, officially known as Petroselinium crispum. Other varieties include Italian flat leaf, Hamburg and Japanese. Parsley is a member of the carrot family, or Apiaceae, and is native to the Mediterranean region. However, it’s also grown as an annual outdoors in the United States or indoors year-round.
Bad-Breath Fighting Chemicals in Parsley
Like other green plants, parsley gets its color from a compound called chlorophyll. This substance has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to neutralize toxins and pollutants you ingest daily. Chlorophyll is a natural deodorizer and is a recommended supplement to fight temporary bad breath. You can also find chlorophyll listed as an ingredient in some products for bad breath. Chewing a small handful of parsley allows you to gain the breath-freshening benefits of chlorophyll.
Growing Your Own Parsley
If you often suffer with bad breath, it’s a good idea to have a regular parsley stock on hand. You can grow this herb indoors easily. Find a sunny spot and put holes in the bottom of the pot to allow good drainage. While growing from seed takes longer, it’s the best method, according to the University of Minnesota. You can speed up the results by soaking the seeds in warm water for about 24 hours before planting. Allow two to five weeks for seedlings to appear.
If you grow fresh parsley at home to fight halitosis, make sure you store it properly as fresh herbs can become contaminated quickly. Symptoms from eating contaminated parsley may appear within 12 to 72 hours and can include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and headaches. Store cut parsley in the refrigerator in a vegetable bag or clean airtight container. Also, if bad breath persists, despite improvements in oral hygiene or chewing parsley, consult your doctor.