Understanding Bad Breath and Curing It, Naturally
Being greeted by a waft of bad breath is not something pleasant. Unfortunately, bad breath is a common occurrence among many — be it those convinced they have foul breath or those who do have terrible breaths and don’t know it. If your suspicions are confirmed and you do have bad breath, fear not for there are many home remedies that can eliminate foul mouth odour.
The Origins of Bad Breath
Normally, bad breath originates from the mouth, where bacteria is ever prevalent. This is completely normal as when we eat bits of food get stuck in your teeth and bacteria tends to thrive on these, releasing foul-smelling sulphur compounds.
Poor dental hygiene is usually attributed to the most common cause of bad breath. Things worsen if you neglect to brush and floss often, subsequently leading to the growth of the bacteria in your mouth, creating a thin film of bacteria known as plaque. When plaque isn’t brushed away at least twice per day, it produces a foul odour and leads to another smelly process, tooth decay.
All foods get stuck in your teeth, but certain foods like onions and garlic more commonly lead to bad breath. Digestion of these foods releases sulphur compounds into your bloodstream. When the blood reaches your lungs, it affects your breath.
There are instances when the source of mouth odour originates from other parts of the body, like the stomach. It could be a result of acid reflux, which leads to the partial regurgitation of foul-tasting liquid that causes the nasty smell or infections, diabetes complications and renal failure. Starting a new diet, such as the keto diet, may also bring about a certain breath odour.
What You Eat Effects Your Breath
When you eat, food begins to break down in your mouth. Consuming food with a strong odour (such as garlic or onions) doesn’t go away until the food have passed through your digestive tracks and out it goes. Brushing and flossing, even gargling mouthwash are merely temporary solutions.
Poor Dental Hygiene = Bad Breath
Why do poor habits cause bad breath? The answer to this question is simple and based of facts. When you don't brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles get caught in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue which subsequently results in bad breath. In addition, odour-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned. Bad habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco-based products not only stains your teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate your gums, it also causes mouth odour.
Home Remedies for Bad breath
Good dental hygiene
According to research studies, poor dental hygiene is commonly attributed to the cause of bad breath. All you have to do to maintain a healthy mouth is to practise good dental hygiene which involves brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice per day (morning and night). Bacteria can also accumulate on the tongue, causing a foul smell so don’t neglect your tongue and instead, practice tongue scraping to remove this thin layer of film. Learn more about why you should be brushing your tongue here.
Known for its deodorising effect, fresh scent and high chlorophyll content, parsley is a popular folk remedy for bad breath. Studies (not tested on human breath) revealed that parsley can effectively combat foul sulphur compounds. After meals, simply chew on fresh leaves of parsley.
There are many people who swear by the treatment of pineapple juice against mouth odour. There isn’t scientific evidence to back up this theory, however, anecdotal reports suggest that it works. Drink a glass of organic pineapple juice after every meal or chew on a pineapple slice for one to two minutes. Once you have done this, remember to rinse your mouth of the sugars collected from the juice.
Research shows that mouth dryness is synonymous with bad breath. Little did we know, saliva plays a vital role in keeping your mouth clean and without it, bacteria thrive. Your mouth naturally dries out while you sleep, which is why morning breath is the most unpleasant thing. Combat this by keeping your body hydrated with water (not caffeinated or sugary drinks) throughout the day to help encourage saliva production. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day.
Yoghurt is rich in healthy bacteria called lactobacillus. Imagine these healthy bacterias as an army that combats the bad bacteria evident in your body, predominantly the gut. Research showed that after six weeks of eating yoghurt, 80 per cent of the participants exhibited a decrease in bad breath that yoghurt may also help reduce bad breath. The natural probiotics in yoghurt are effective in reducing the severity of bad breath so eat at least one serving per day of plain, non-fat yogurt.
Milk is another well-known home remedy mouth odour. Research shows that drinking milk after eating garlic can significantly improve “garlicky” breath. To use this method, drink a glass of low or full-fat milk during or after a meal to contain strong-smelling food like garlic and onions.
Fennel or anise seeds
Since ancient times, the spices fennel and anise seeds have been used as breath fresheners. In parts of India, roasted fennel seeds are used as “mukhwas,” or mouth fresheners, to cleanse after-dinner breath till today. Unlike the bitterness that you imagine, they taste sweet and contain aromatic essential oils that bathes the mouth with fresh scent. Fennel and anise seeds can be eaten plain, roasted, or coated with sugar.
Get your daily dose of OJ in the mornings, not only for a healthy body, but for healthy mouth. Oranges not only make for a healthy dessert, but they also promote dental hygiene. Many suffer from bad breath because their mouths don’t produce enough saliva to wash away foul-smelling bacteria. Research shows that vitamin C helps increase saliva production, which can help eliminate bad breath.
Certain mouthwashes and chewing gum are laced with zinc salts and element that can counteract bad breath. Zinc decreases the sulphurous compounds in your breath. Research has shown that regular rinsing with zinc-rich solutions can be effective in reducing bad breath for at least 6 months. Look out for zinc chewing gum designed for people with dry mouth. You can also find zinc dietary supplements at your local drug store.
Green tea is an effective home remedy for bad breath, evident in many green tea mouthwashes in the market. Research shows that green tea has disinfectant and deodorising properties that can temporarily freshen the breath, similar to mint. A cup of green mint tea after a meal may be an ideal breath freshener or choose to brew two cups of tea before going to bed and refrigerate it overnight. Pour your cool tea into a water bottle, bring it to work and drink it throughout the day.
Apples not only make a fine snack, but a study found that it has a powerful effect against garlic breath. Apples have certain inherent compounds that neutralise the foul-smelling compounds in garlic.
Homemade mouthwash with baking soda
Studies have shown that the multifaceted baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth. Research has also indicated that toothpastes containing high concentrations of baking soda effectively reduce bad breath. It’s quite simple to concoct your own baking soda mouthwash. All you need is to add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water. Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.
Homemade mouthwash with vinegar
Besides baking soda, vinegar can also combat foul breath. Vinegar contains a natural acid called acetic acid. Bacteria don’t like to grow in acidic environments, hence, the acetic acid in vinegar reduces and can prevent bacteria growth. To make this home brew, add 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. Gargle for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.