Have you ever heard of the word Halitosis? It is a medical term for Bad breath (1). Bad breath is very humiliating. It can happen to anyone, which is more common than you think. It creates awkwardness and can have friends keep a distance when conversing. Little wonder why every grocery store you walk into has a variety of mints – sweets and gums that promise to keep your breath fresh. The source of the bad breath needs to be identified and cured, and many of these products don’t do it.
Sometimes, bad breath may occur when you don’t practice good oral hygiene. Other times, it may be associated with certain foods or health problems in the stomach, mouth, nose, throat, or lungs. This may have made you uncomfortable with your partner, colleagues, or friends. This article shares 11 natural remedies to effectively freshen your breath, regain your confidence, and seal that first kiss.
Different Types of Bad Breath
Bad breath has been classified into various types according to the root cause (2)
1. Rotten Eggs Breath smell:
Ever had a person speak so close to you, and all you could wonder was why the air around you suddenly smelled like rotten eggs? This type of bad breath may be caused by poor oral hygiene and gum disease.
2. Dead Rat Breath smell:
This is a more severe type of bad breath. It may be caused by underlying liver disease.
3. Rotten Apple Breath smell:
If you have ever felt your breath had a soft sugary smell. It may be a sign of diabetics.
4. Fishy Breath smell:
A fishy smell can be so unwelcoming, especially when it’s coming from someone’s breath. This type of bad breath may be a result of kidney disease.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Some common causes of bad breath include
1. Poor Oral Hygiene:
This may result from the decomposition of leftover foods. For example, when you eat and don’t brush your teeth daily, live bacteria in the saliva step into action to break down leftover food particles in your mouth, causing bad breath (3).
If these food particles linger for too long in your mouth, they begin to form a sticky yellow, pale film (plaque). The further these particles decompose in your mouth, the more terrible your breath stinks. In addition, if you fail to floss regularly, bacteria may hide in the gap between your gum and teeth, irritate your gum, lead to gum disease and ultimately cause bad breath.
2. Smoking Tobacco:
Smoking tobacco or tobacco products may cause bad breath or gum disease (4). After smoking, the tobacco smoke may stay on your breath and leave your mouth smelling like an ashtray. Tobacco, pipes, or cigarette smoke may also cause a thin layer to coat your tongue. This thin layer can store bacteria and other substances that cause bad breath and gum diseases.
3. Eating Certain Foods:
What you eat plays a role in how your breath smells. Certain foods like garlic and onions have strong odors. They also contain compounds that do not break down easily; these compounds can stay on your breath for up to 2 days post-consumption (5). If you notice you have bad breath, you may want to avoid eating meals with garlic and onions for a few days before going for your next big date or board meeting.
4. Dry Mouth:
Saliva performs a significant function in the mouth by routinely washing away decaying food particles and dead cells. When you do not hydrate very often, the saliva in your mouth begins to decrease. Your mouth gets dry, and the cleansing action of the saliva stops. This gives room for decaying food particles and dead cells to accumulate and may cause bad breath. Always remember to drink a lot of water daily.
5. Some Pharmaceutical Drugs:
Some Medications such as antifungals, antidepressants, and steroids have shown the ability to cause dry mouth. This dryness of the mouth can cause bad breath. Other times, the chemical compounds in these prescription drugs break down to release a subtle yet awful smell that may cause bad breath (6).
6. Mouth Infections:
Gum disease is a prevalent mouth infection. When plaque forms in the tooth due to poor oral hygiene and is not treated soon enough, it hardens and discolors to form a thicker coat (tartar). This irritates the gum and causes pockets where more decaying food particles can hide, causing the gum to be infected (periodontitis) and may lead to bad breath (7).
7. Other common causes of bad breath include
- Liver disease
- Ulcer and acid reflux.
These are some common causes of bad breath; having identified them, here are some home remedies you can start today to keep your breath fresh.
11 Natural Home Remedies to keep your Breath Fresh
Yes, water! Drinking a lot of water (6 – 8 ounces of water) daily will keep saliva flowing and help prevent dry mouth. Drinking water or swishing water through your mouth after meals also helps break up food particles and bacteria that get stuck after a meal. If you let them stay, they may decompose and break down in your mouth to cause bad breath.
Some studies show that rinsing your mouth with water in the morning may greatly reduce “morning bad breath” and keep your breath fresh (8). If you rarely drink water and you suffer from bad breath, you should consider having a glass of water at intervals during the day.
2. Chewing on Cilantro leaves:
The next time you visit the farmer’s market or go grocery shopping, look out for cilantro leaves. They are rich in chlorophyll, which has anti-odor and anti-germ properties. Adding this to your salads or chewing on it after meals may significantly help to freshen your breath.
Cinnamon sticks or cinnamon oils are your allies. They have powerful anti-bacterial properties that help neutralize odor in the mouth (9). So grab a cinnamon stick and chew on it. If you have trouble chewing on a cinnamon stick, you can brew it in your tea or use the cinnamon oils in your next meal.
4. Brush your teeth twice a day:
This may seem like a no-brainer. However, the benefits of brushing at least twice a day cannot be talked about enough. While brushing and flossing, particular attention should be paid to where the tooth enters the gum. Also, don’t forget about the bacteria on your tongue, which creates a byproduct that causes your breath to stink. To make your whole mouth as clean as possible, brush your tongue with a toothbrush or use a tongue scraper.
5. Chew Fennel Seeds:
Fennel and anise seeds have been used for breath freshening since the beginning of time. Roasted fennel seeds are still used in India as “mukhwas” or after-dinner breath fresheners. They have a sweet flavor and are rich in aromatic essential oils that freshen the breath. The benefits of Chewing fennel seeds are enormous, which include help with digestion, flatulence, and acid reflux control.
6. Eat Plain, Low-fat Yoghurt:
Lactobacillus, a good bacteria found in yogurt, may help fight bad breath by battling harmful bacteria in your intestines. According to one study, 80 percent of participants had less bad breath after eating yogurt for six weeks (10). So today, make that switch to plain, low-fat yogurt. A single serving of plain, low-fat yogurt will make a huge difference.
7. Use Alcohol-free Mouth Wash:
It is true that mouthwash kills bacteria in your mouth and makes your breath fresher. However, it is essential to pick an alcohol-free mouthwash that won’t dry out your mouth at the same time. Also, look for a product that contains both chlorine dioxide (sodium chloride) and zinc compounds, as these destroy the volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.
If you’d instead make your mouthwash, here are some recipes to get you started. Add 1 cup warm water + 2 teaspoons baking soda. Swish around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting out.
8. Add Clove to your daily diet:
Clove does a great job at freshening the breath. It’s been used to treat toothaches and in toothpaste formulations for years. The essential oils present in the clove help remove bacteria from the mouth. All you need to do is put a clove in your mouth after rinsing it and chew on it for a few minutes; you should allow all the juices and flavor to get into your mouth. Voila! Your breath will smell fresh.
9. Eat More Citrus Foods:
A fantastic example of a citrus food that can keep your breath fresh is Orange. Oranges are rich in Vitamin C. Research shows that vitamin C helps increase the production of saliva, which in turn helps to fight odor in the mouth (11). If, after a meal, you can lay your hands on an orange, eat an orange. Alternatively, if you were served a lemon wedge with your meal, savor it once you’ve finished it. Eating any citrus food right after a meal keeps your breath smelling fresh.
10. Use Tea tree Oil When Brushing:
Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic. It helps the mouth destroy odor-causing bacteria and microbes. Add a few drops to your toothpaste or brush your teeth with the oil alone to quickly incorporate it into your oral hygiene routine.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar is a simple solution to eliminate the unpleasant mouth odors created by onions and garlic. Mix a little in a glass of water and gently swish it around your mouth. This natural mouthwash can immediately eliminate odor and freshen your breath.
When To Get Medical Help?
If you have tried all-natural remedies, practice good oral hygiene, and you still have bad breath. Then, you must make an appointment with your family doctor to further examine for possibly serious underlying health issues. Persistent Bad breath may indicate an underlying medical problem. Some medical conditions that may cause bad breath include sinus infections, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
At some point in our lives, we may experience bad breath. It could be ours or from a friend. Sometimes, bad breath is unavoidable because of underlying health problems. Other times, it could be a reflection of our poor lifestyle choices. Its severity may vary from morning bad breath to persistent halitosis. Nonetheless, bad breath is common and it puts us in an uncomfortable spot. If you consistently use Natural remedies and practice good lifestyle choices, you may be close to preventing and attacking the root causes of bad breath. In any case where you have tried to eliminate bad breath at home with little to no success. Please book an appointment with your doctor for a proper examination.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What causes Bad breath?
Poor oral hygiene and underlying medical conditions are some of the most common causes of bad breath.
How can you permanently get rid of Bad breath?
Maintaining good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth regularly, may significantly improve your chances of getting rid of bad breath. Nonetheless, when the cause of bad breath is a result of an underlying medical condition, it is best to see a dentist.
How do you know you have a Bad Breath?
It is difficult to determine what one’s breath smells like, and the stigma around bad breath makes it even harder to discuss. If you have a close family you can trust, you may ask them to confirm your suspicions about your breath. On the other hand, you can schedule an appointment with a dentist.
What do you do to get rid of bad morning breath immediately?
Morning Bad breath can quickly be taken care of by simply swishing water in your mouth for about 30 seconds. However, you may consider watching what you eat for persistent bad breath or making lifestyle adjustments.
How do you check if your breath stinks?
Cupping your hands over your mouth and nose or licking the inside of your wrist and smelling it can help you determine if you have bad breath. Bad breathing is often caused by poor oral hygiene.
- “Everything you need to know about bad breath” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “Halitosis: Discover the Cause and Say No to It !!!! – An overview” – ijmhs.net
- “Diagnosis and Treatment of Halitosis” – halitose.de
- “How Smoking Affects the Mouth” – myvmc.com
- “Garlic breath” – wikipedia.org
- “Drug-Related Halitosis“- A Systematic Overview
- “Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)” – webmd.com
- “The effect of water on morning bad breath: a randomized clinical trial” – onlinelibrary.wiley.com
- “Effect of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark essential oil on the halitosis-associated bacterium Solobacterium moorei and in vitro cytotoxicity” – sciencedirect.com
- “Put culture in your life and reduce bad breath: Eat yogurt!” – eurekalert.org
- “Soft Laser, Chewing Gum, and Citric Acid Effects on Salivation” – researchgate.net