Keep calm and chew gum
Anxiety messes with the body and causes a wide range of aggravating symptoms. It disrupts sleep, increases heart rate, messes with digestion and can even produce halitosis or bad breath. Unfortunately, just saying "calm down" isn't going to do it. Anxiety manifests in the conscious and subconscious and requires a complete thought overhaul - and possibly prescription medication - to combat it. For lesser cases of stress, however, the answer may be as simple as chewing gum.
How anxiety causes halitosis
The human body has two basic states, according to The Suppers Programs. We're either at rest and digest or fight or flight mode. When we're resting and relaxing, our systems focus on digestion and stretching out our muscles. In fight or flight, these systems are neglected in favor of adrenaline production and heightened sensitivity. Anxiety can provoke an activation of the extreme form of this state, killing digestive impulses and driving a person into a state of hysteria.
When this happens, saliva production stops. While it may be gross to think about, the spit in your mouth plays a role in breaking down food and fighting the growth of certain kinds of bacteria. No digestion, no saliva, leading to a condition commonly known as dry mouth.
While dry mouth in itself is not dangerous, it can lead to a less hygienic state of oral care. Halitosis is caused by anaerobic bacteria within the mouth. Without saliva to keep the population down, this bacteria spreads and propagates, producing hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and other smelly substances that fuel bad breath.
An anxious person with severe halitosis is likely to be more miserable and more stressed. That vicious cycle is easy to get stuck in.
Tips to keep calm
Fortunately, anxiety is not as powerful a force as it pretends to be and can be effectively fought through a variety of methods. One of the simplest but most effective strategies is just remembering to breathe. Between work, family and other projects, we can sometimes get too caught up in our day - particularly in trifles that don't truly matter. Stressful events like missing a movie time, being late to an event or forgetting to buy something while food shopping aren't matters of life and death.
Stop. Take a breath. Focus less on your negative thoughts and more on the environment around you - this will work wonders.
For those hoping for a more definite plan, Psychology Today recommended figuring a way to induce your body's relaxation response. This varies from person to person, although relaxing music or picturing a calm environment can often help spur release.
Lastly, Cognitive Psychology reported that even chewing can reduce stress. Chewing a tough substance helps reduce cortisol levels, lessening the amount of stress produced in the body. Gum is perfect for this exercise. Lucky for those overcoming both anxiety and bad breath, TheraBreath has created Advanced Formula Chewing Gum. This chewable treat brings refreshing flavor while combating the bacteria that cause halitosis.
Keep calm and stay confident in your fresh breath. You've got this!