Bad breath can be embarrassing and uncomfortable or it can be a symptom of disease. Chronic halitosis should be checked out with a health care professional, especially if there are other chronic symptoms that join it. Cancer, tuberculosis, lung disease, infections, and more can all contribute to bad breath. But if your bad breath is from the more usual suspects, there is plenty you can do to naturally eliminate this nuisance.
Most bad breath comes from bacteria hiding in the tongue, throat, and tonsils where these unwelcome guests create volatile sulfur compounds that smell terrible. High protein foods, sugary foods, smoking, and even milk can make bad breath worse by feeding these bacteria or making the environment of the mouth more appealing to them. Food stuck between teeth, plaque buildup, tooth decay, infections, dry mouth, and sinus problems can also make breath worse.
Don’t Mask It – The first thing you should know is gum, mouthwash, sprays, and mints are only temporary fixes. They mostly just mask the odor, not touching the root of the problem. Mouthwashes combine with compounds in the mouth to create carcinogenic chemicals. Mouthwash also weakens the cells in the mouth to these chemicals. The alcohol in mouthwashes tends to dry the mouth out, actually encouraging bacterial growth.
Stay Clean – Oral hygiene is important, of course. You should brush your teeth and floss daily. Use natural toothpastes whenever possible to avoid fluoride, artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and other dangerous additives. Brush your tongue too or use a tongue cleaner. Bacteria and bits of food like to hide there to cause foul odors later.
Avoid the Worst – Evade the foods that cause bad breath for you. These can be different for each person, but often include garlic, onions, and spicy foods. Sweets, milk, and grains can also be a problem for many people. Garlic has some major benefits for the immune system and the heart, but can seep from pores and from the lungs once it hits the bloodstream. Take garlic at night, just before bed to get the benefits and let the after effects wear off while you sleep.
Green Up – Chlorophyll is a powerful detoxifying agent that cleans and eliminates odors. Dark greens help with bad breath and body odor too. Herbs like mint and parsley contain plenty of chlorophyll along with fresh smelling essential oils. Chew a few leaves after meals or anytime you need to refresh your mouth.
Citrus Time – Lemon helps lessen the smell of onions and garlic. Lemon and other citrus also encourage the production of saliva to aid the body in washing away bacteria and food particles. Lemon alkalizes and detoxifies the body too.
Hydrate Away – Water is important for every function of the body, including good saliva flow and detox. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to keep the body hydrated, producing saliva, and clearing away things you don’t want sticking around. A dry mouth allows bacteria to get comfortable and grow.
Turn to Herbs – The herbs fennel, anise, sage, mint, and clove can all help freshen breath, promote saliva, and kill bacteria. Chew on fennel seeds, sage, mint, or anise after meals. Cloves can make a very good tea or mouthwash. Just bring water to a boil and then set aside with a few fresh cloves to steep. Cloves will freshen breath, kill bacteria, and even combat tooth pain.
Vinegar to the Rescue – Apple cider vinegar also makes a good mouthwash that kills odors. Mix one teaspoon of this vinegar with a glass of water and use it to gargle. Apple cider vinegar also dissolves tonsil stones, nasty clumps of bacteria that can hide in the tonsils where they emit sulfurous scents.
Essential Oils – Tea tree oil and peppermint oil can also be added to water and used as a powerful mouthwash. They kill bacteria and leave you smelling fresh and clean.
Use the Veggies – Fresh vegetables also improve breath. They contain chlorophyll and fiber. The fiber brushes your mouth as you chew, removing plaque and bacteria, and then it helps remove waste in the digestive system. Fiber is always a good thing to add to your diet to lessen bad breath, body odor, and digestive problems.
Soda the Smell – Baking soda is another very good deodorizer. We use it in our fridges to keep foods from smelling funny or spreading their natural smell to other foods. It works in your mouth too. Use it as toothpaste with a drop of peppermint, tea tree oil, or lemon oil. Mix a little with water and use it as a mouthwash and watch your breath quickly improve.
Get Your Vitamins – Finally, make sure you’re getting enough of your B vitamins. These energizing vitamins are an important part of metabolism and digestion. A deficiency can easily cause bad breath.