First date? Job interview? Or first day at the workplace? There is something which can be a big spoiler. And what’s that? Bad breath.
Actually, stinking breath can be a big turn-off and embarrassing, other than bad body odour. After all, who would like to get the smell of onions, garlic or whatever from your mouth in a meeting, party or cocktail?
Feeling uneasy on the thought of bad breath? Let us find out the causes first.
Halitosis. That’s what bad breath is called medically. Meaning, unpleasant odors exhaled while breathing which are noticeable. So what causes halitosis or bad breath?
- Bacterial Infections: Did you know that over 600 types of bacteria are found in the mouth (on an average)? Many of these can be the root cause of high levels of foul odors.
- Medications: Certain medications form a film-like coating over the tongue (OTT) and react with stomach acids. Thereby emitting smell, which can lead to bad breath.
This is a common experience we all face, isn’t it. Who would like to taste OTC drugs in the first place? NO ONE!
- Oral Hygiene Poor: In most cases (and in large numbers), bad breath comes from the tongue and gums, which is a result of poor oral hygiene.
- Nasal Drip: Those of you (or your family members) who have ever been put on nasal drip would know that the nasal drip goes down the back of throat during colds, allergies, and sinus infection. This causes bad breath. That’s because the affected person is not able to brush or floss frequently.
- Certain Foods: Onions, garlic etc. leave lasting odors in mouth. Till the time these foods are eliminated or washed down the tongue, alternatives like mouthwash, chewing gum, and toothpaste can mask the odors.
- Dry Mouth: Some people who are on prescription and over-the-counter medicines for allergies or cold can face the situation of dry mouth which leads to bad breath.
- Tobacco (and Tobacco Products): Smokers and tobacco chewers are most likely to end up with bad breath.
- Tongue Unclean: Bacteria on the tongue (and you can’t locate them) make up for approx 90% of cases of mouth-related bad breath.
- Gum Disease: Bacteria growing below-the-gumline can create room for foul odor and bad breath.
- Tonsils: There are a small number of populations who suffer from tonsil stones. When released, they smell extremely foul and can cause bad breath.
[Also Read: Chewing Gum To Pop Your Ears ]
The smell of Bad breath depends on the source or the cause. Some people worry too much for the fear of bad breath (even though they don’t have it) while others have bad breath, yet they don’t know about it (or fail to realize it).
Here is a run-down of the symptoms:
- Food: Whenever there is a breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth, it can increase the chances of bacteria build-up and lead to foul odor.
- Tobacco Products: Smoking is a perennial problem, not just for lungs but unpleasant mouth odor too.
- Poor dental hygiene
- Mouth Infections
- Miscellaneous nose, throat and mouth conditions
Home Remedies to Cure Bad Breath
Cheer up! You can make bad breath a thing of the past when you follow these remedies.
What all you need: Parsley leaves
- Just chew on a sprig of parsley.
- This will help in refreshing your breath
How it works: Parsley has chlorophyll which neutralizes bad breath. It also helps in food digestion.
Tip: Try out this option – extract the juice of parsley leaves by putting them in a juicer. Sip the juice whenever you feel the need to freshen your breath.
What all you need: 1 tsp Fenugreeks seeds, water
- Boil the seeds of fenugreek (or methi seeds) in a cup of water
- Strain it and drink it once daily
How it works: Fenugreek tea is one of the well-liked home remedies when it comes to tackling bad breath.
What all you need: Few cloves
- Put few cloves in your mouth
- Chew them thoroughly for few minutes to knock off bad breath
How it works: Cloves are known to freshen your breath, since they have antibacterial properties which are helpful in getting rid of bad breath.
Tip: Apart from chewing, there is another option which you can try out with cloves. CLOVE TEA. To make it, boil a cup of water. Then add 1 tsp ground cloves and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Either drink the tea or use it as a mouthwash, twice a day. Nice idea (and workable).
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
What all you need: 1 tbsp raw and unfiltered ACV, a glass of water
- Pour 1 tbsp of ACV in a glass of water
- Stir the treated solution
- Drink it before having your meals
How it works: Thanks to its pH balancing properties, ACV not only gets rid of the bad breath, it also helps in stimulating digestion.
Tip: Alternatively, you can also gargle by mixing ACV in a cup of water.
5. Baking Soda
What all you need: Baking Soda, drinking water
- First warm up the drinking water.
- Pour the warm water in a glass.
- Now put one and a half tsp of baking soda in the glass having warm water
- Mouth-rinse it daily till you get satisfactory results
How it works: Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) balances out the acid levels and fights oral bacteria which lead to bad breath.
Tip: You can also brush your teeth with baking soda. This will cut down the acidity level in your mouth and stop the Bacteria build-up in mouth too.
What all you need: 1 tsp cinnamon powder, a cup of water
- Boil the powder of cinnamon in a cup of water
- Strain the solution
- Use it as a mouth-rinse to freshen up your breath.
How it works: Cinnamon has cinnamic aldehyde – an essential oil which not only fights bad breath, it also reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
Tip: You can add some cardamom and bay leaves as well while boiling cinnamon powder in water. It adds to the taste and health.
What all you need: Cardamom pod – 1
- Chew on the cardamom pod
- Or peel the pod and chew on the seeds inside and ingest it
How it works: Had a meal with the overpowering smell/odor of garlic or onion? Pop a cardamom pod into your mouth immediately after the meal.
Cardamom has long been used in India after meals. It is not only an aromatic freshener, but reduces bad breath too.
8. Lemon Juice
What all you need: 1 tbsp lemon juice, a cup containing water
- Pour lemon juice in a cup. Stir it well.
- Rinse your mouth with it
How it works: Lemon rinse has been used for generations to say goodbye to bad breath. Lemons have acidic content which puts a stop to the growth of bacteria.
Tip: Add a bit of salt to the lemon juice and drink it. This will help solve out the problem of “dry mouth” which is one of the main contributing reasons to bad breath.
What all you need: Sage tea, Green tea or black tea
Making of Sage Tea:
- Steep 1 tsp of dried sage in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
- Strain it and drink this tea as often as you can to keep your breath fresh.
How it works: Herbal and normal teas fight out bad breath. Green and black tea has powerful antioxidant polyphenols which stop the growth of bad breath causing bacteria.
10. Crunchy Vegetables And Fruits
What all you need: Citrus fruits and veggies
How it works: These have vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. All of these are essential for getting healthy teeth and gums.
11. Coconut Oil
What all you need: 1 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil
- Swish the coconut oil in your mouth for 5 to 10 minutes
- Spit it out
- Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water after this
How it works: ‘Swishing’ of Coconut oil is a popular way to keep the mouth in the pink of health and bacteria-free. It’s nice to know that this oil has anti- inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Tip: Do the coconut oil home remedy every day till you find the bad breath gone.
12. Fennel Seeds
What all you need: 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- Chew, chew, chew a couple of fennel seeds but slowly
- This will not only freshen your breath, it will also stimulate saliva production
How it works: Light or heavy meal, end it up with fennel seeds. It is an excellent mouth freshener which helps control bad breath and fights bacteria in the mouth.
Tip: Want some fun with fennel seeds? Drink fennel tea 2-3 times a day. Making fennel tea is simple. Just steep 1 or 2 tsp of fennel seeds in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Now drink it. That’s it.
13. Peppermint Essential Oil
What all you need: Peppermint oil
- Just put 1-2 drops of peppermint oil in your mouth
- Swish and gargle with it and spit it out
How it works: Peppermint oil is not just a natural remedy, but a natural alternative to breath fresheners. It’s also good for your digestion, and gives your breath a pleasant smell.
Tip: If your digestive tract is the cause of bad breath, then use 1-2 drops of peppermint oil in water after every meal. This will help the digestive system immensely.
What all you need: Manuka honey (preferably)
- In order to prevent bad breath, apply honey (ESPECIALLY MANUKA HONEY) on the gums
- Massage them for about 2 to 5 minutes.
- You can also mix 1 tbsp Manuka honey with 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder and combine this mixture to a glass of hot water. Do a gargle with this water in the morning and evening.
How it works: Not many of us would know that Manuka honey is one of the most effective treatments for managing bad breath. It has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Honey destroys only the bad bacteria and microbes, at the same time it allows the good bacteria to grow. This makes honey more effective in treating halitosis (bad breath).
What all you need: Bananas
How it works: Munch on bananas! Not just because it is high in nutrition. But because they fight against the bad-breath-causing-bacteria.
Tip: Try and eat bananas in ‘raw’ form in fruit salads, or as topping in oats, milk shakes etc.
16. Mint or Cilantro
What all you need: Mint family (Peppermint or Spearmint)
- Chew a fresh mint for up to a minute.
- You can also try peppermint oil drops under your tongue to get a refreshing feeling.
How it works: When you chew on mint leaves, you not only find relief from indigestion and heartburn, you also fight the bad breath causing bacteria in your mouth.
Mint not only has chlorophyll, its ‘minty’ taste helps mask the foul odors from your mouth avoiding you any kind of embarrassment.
What all you need: A bowl of yogurt
How it works: Yogurt is believed to be a new cure for the treatment of halitosis (meaning bad breath). Eating 6 ounces of unsweetened yogurt a day for 6 weeks (according to a research) reduced levels of odor-causing compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, in the mouth.
Tip: Go ahead and mix berries and citrus fruits with yogurt to enhance the taste and cut back on bad breath.
18. Tea Tree oil
What all you need: A toothpaste containing tea tree oil (or the actual product i.e. tea tree oil itself)
- Brush your teeth with a toothpaste that has tea tree oil
- Or put few drops of TTO (Tea tree oil) on your toothbrush having the toothpaste you use
How it works: Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties which acts like a powerful disinfectant for your mouth.
Tip: As an option, you can mix few drops of three essential oils – tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil in a glass of water and do a mouth rinse.
19. Activated Charcoal
What all you need: 1/2 tsp activated charcoal, and a toothbrush
- Ditch your toothpaste this time because you are to Brush your teeth with activated charcoal
- Once you are through, rinse your mouth fully so as to remove all charcoal
How it works: The activated charcoal absorbs all the impurities in the mouth, killing harmful bacteria. It also whitens your teeth.
Tip: 2 to 3 times a week, use activated charcoal until the bad breath problem goes away
20. Epsom Salt
What all you need: 1 tsp Epsom salt, and a glass of lukewarm water
- This remedy is simple
- Just mix Epsom salt in lukewarm water and gargle with it
How it works: Epsom salt is a fantastic remedy in fighting oral bacteria and removing odor from the mouth.
Tip: In the initial few days, do this remedy every day. After a while, do it every alternate day.
21. Eucalyptus Oil
What all you need: 2 to 3 drops eucalyptus oil, and a cup of water
- Simple gargle is what you need to do with a mixture of water and eucalyptus oil
- Then rinse your mouth with plain water
How it works: Eucalyptus oil is gifted with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It means it has a bactericidal effect on different types of bacteria and alleviates any type of pain or swelling in your mouth.
Tip: Keep repeating this remedy until you experience relief.
What all you need: 1 tsp juice of ginger, and a glass of water (but warm, not cold)
- First grate or squeeze the ginger root to get fresh juice from it
- Add the ginger juice to warm water
- Now rinse your mouth with it
How it works: Ginger has anti-microbial properties which fights bad odor in the mouth and treats oral and throat infections too.
Tip: Do the ginger remedy post-meals in the beginning, then once every few days.
23. Grapefruit Seed Extract
What all you need: 1-2 drops of grapefruit seed extract
- Firstly, brush your teeth
- Now put the grapefruit seed extract on your toothbrush and rub it on your teeth (gently)
- Rinse your teeth with plain water
How it works: Grapefruit seed extract is a mouth-deodorizer. It removes all bacteria that may be growing in the mouth.
Tip: Repeat this remedy every day and you will find a difference in a week.
24. Salt Water
What all you need: 1 tbsp table salt, Lukewarm water (a glass)
- Make lukewarm water first
- Then add salt to it
- Now gargle with it
How it works: Salt water is antimicrobial in nature. It neutralizes the pH of the mouth and cleanses it too.
Tip: Do salt water treatment once or twice a day (depending on the severity of your bad breath)
25. Sesame Oil
What all you need: 1 tbsp sesame oil and some lukewarm water
- Swish the sesame oil in your mouth for a few minutes
- Spit it out and follow it up by doing a gargle with lukewarm water
How it works: Much like coconut oil, the sesame oil cleanses your mouth and improves dental health. It also whitens your teeth (which is an added benefit)
Tip: Do this remedy every day in the morning till you get satisfactory results
What all you need: Unripe guava
- Eat the kachcha (means unripe) guava during the day (anytime, no fixed time)
- You can also cut the guava into pieces, sprinkle salt and black pepper powder on it and eat.
How it works: The wonder fruit guava is a good remedy for bad breath, bleeding and diseased gums, and sensitive teeth. It has plenty of vitamin C, tannic acid, malic acid, and oxalate to improve your oral health.
Tip: Eat a guava few times a week to get positive results.
27. Hydrogen Peroxide
What all you need: 1 tbsp of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution, and half cup water
- First of all, dilute the hydrogen peroxide in water
- Then rinse you mouth with this solution
- Follow it up by brushing your gums, teeth, and tongue so that all residues get removed.
How it works: Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful anti-microbial solution which can help you easily get rid of pesky bad breath
Tip: Do this remedy in the morning after brushing your teeth. No harm repeating it few times in the first two weeks after a gap of 1 or 2 days.
Prevention and Tips:
Give a blow to bad breath when you follow these suggestions:
- Brush your teeth twice a day: It is the first and most important thing in maintaining good dental health. Brush your teeth (at least) 2-3 minutes twice a day. The effort is to remove plaque and food debris.
- Floss your teeth once a day: Flossing daily will help remove food debris stuck in between the teeth (which sadly a toothbrush can’t reach).
- Clean the Mouth Regularly: Mouth cleaning is a very important step in preventing bad breath.
- Gargle: Doing a gargle with baking soda helps in combating bad breath.
- Suitable Gum: When you chew upon sugarless gum, it helps stimulate saliva flow. It is the saliva which helps wash away bad breath-causing food debris and bacteria.
- Clean the Tongue: Get yourself an inexpensive tool called a ‘tongue scraper’. It removes any residue build-up between the taste buds and folds in the tongue.
- Rinse Mouth After Every Meal: A mouth-rinse only masks the odor. It does not cure it. Do a quick-rinse with a mix of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. You can also do a mouth-rinse with black or green tea.
- Avoid Foods that Can Cause Bad Breath: Refined sweet foods and carbs (white sugar, white bread, eggs and meat) should be avoided as they promote growth of anaerobic bacteria (which mostly thrive at night).
- Eat At Regular Intervals: Heard of ‘oral dryness’? This can happen when you eat after long gaps in the course of the day. This in turn promotes the build-up of odor-causing bacteria, and bad breath.
- Use A Mouthwash (Non-alcohol Based): Suffer from oral irritations? Go for alcohol free mouthwash. It not only freshens up breath, it is more effective in controlling plaque than fluoride rinses.
- Eat fiber rich food: No avoiding fiber! Eating fresh fruits and veggies steps up your saliva flow and helps wash away bacteria from teeth, tongue and gums (which lead to bad breath).
- Drink green and black teas: Ditch your coffee and go for a cup of green or black tea. Both these teas have polyphenols which halt the bacteria-growth.
- Clean your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products: No doubt they look tasty to the mind and tongue, but they can leave behind food debris (particularly non-veg items) which when left unclean can attract bad breath.
- Stop smoking: Non-smokers will be surprised (smokers wont and you know why) on finding out that smoking contributes to bad breath. Tobacco dries out your mouth creating a lingering ‘unpleasant’ smell even after brushing your teeth.
- Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth: In adults, chronic mouth breathing can invite bad breath and gum disease. The better option is breathing though your nose.
- Clean your dentures at least once a day: Just as you clean your natural teeth once a day, similarly you should clean your dentures too.
- Eliminate dairy products from your diet: Experiencing bad breath symptoms associated with dairy products? Try cutting out on dairy products.
- Avoid drying medication: There are medicines that can trigger dry mouth. Take them only after your doctor prescribes it, or else skip it.
- Don’t Skip Breakfast: When you skip breakfast, you invite bad breath. So, have a light breakfast, at least.
- Reduce Coffee/Alcohol: Shun alcohol and coffee (I know it sounds tough but is a MUST) if you want your oral health to be good.
- Reduce Complex Carbs: Refined sugar (an example of complex carbs) can not only cause obesity, it can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath. So reduce it.
When To Seek Medical Attention?
Just started a new medication? Or have had recent dental surgery? Then consult your health-care provider.
Tried any of the above-mentioned home remedies? Did they work? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.