9 Effective Home Remedies to Fight Bad Breath
Bad breath is a common condition that creates embarrassing social situations for many people.
Medically known as halitosis, the occurrence of bad breath can be chronic or intermittent. Most of the times the cause is related to poor oral hygiene.
However, many other reasons like digestive problems, gut health, respiratory and/or sinus infections, type of diet or food, medications, lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol consumption etc. results in causing bad breath or aggravating an existing condition.
Maintaining proper dental hygiene is the key to avoid bad breath. Ninety percent of the time, bad breath originates in the mouth and is the result of the bacterial build-up inside it.
The food particles that get stuck between the teeth will make your mouth a petri dish for culturing bacteria if it is not properly and timely cleaned.
Therefore, in addition to brushing twice a day, it is important to rinse the mouth with water after each meal.
Brushing before bed is a must. Along with brushing, flossing helps to clean the teeth properly and prevents tooth decay.
Over a period of time, the food debris, dead cells and bacteria form a coating on the tongue, making it appear white. This symptom is called coated tongue or white tongue and is often a cause of bad breath.
As a preventive method, use a tongue scraper (preferably a metal one) to clean your tongue while brushing. Along with reducing bad breath, it will improve the sense of taste and the tongue will appear cleaner.
Consistent and thorough oral cleanliness guarantees odorless breath to a large extent. Still, there may be times when you suspect or actually experience of having bad breath despite following a stringent oral care routine.
Here are some simple and effective tips for you try at home for ensuring fresh breath.
1. Lean towards green
Regular intake of green leafy vegetables can support overall dental and digestive health.
Leafy vegetables help to maintain the PH balance of the body. They promote an alkaline environment which inhibits the growth of bad bacteria that causes odor.
Chlorophyll, the green pigment present in the leaves is believed to have deodorizing properties.
You can also use herbs such as parsley, mint, tulsi (holy basil) and cilantro as instant breath fresheners.
Chew a fresh piece of any of these fragrant herbs after meals to get rid of the foul smell of onions, garlic and meat proteins.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) mouthwash
Majority of the non-prescription mouthwashes in the market contain alcohol, an ingredient which can dry out the mouth. Bad bacteria thrives in a dry environment. Instead, use a simple homemade ACV mouthwash.
Recipe for Apple Cider Vinegar Mouthwash
1. Dilute 1 tsp. of regular apple cider vinegar in one glass of lukewarm water.
2. Rinse your mouth with this solution for about 30-45 seconds and spit it out.
3. Use a mouthful of same solution to gargle for about 20 seconds and spit it out.
4. Gargling will help to loosen the tonsil stones which are major culprits of bad breath.
Tonsil stones are small white or yellow grain like formations on tonsils which are formed in when food residue, saliva, mucus etc. get stuck on the tonsil cavities.
The bacteria and fungus inside the mouth, then forms a bio film on these particles and they get hardened. Tonsil stones emit very foul odor which is one of the reasons why the breath stinks.
ACV gargle detaches the tonsil stones from the throat and gets rid of it in the process.
3. Oil pulling using coconut oil
Oil pulling is an ancient Indian oral care technique in which an oil(preferably coconut) is used to rinse the mouth for some time.
While swishing inside the mouth, the oil carries away the harmful bacteria and promotes healthy teeth and gum.
Though this method works with any oil, extra virgin coconut oil is a preferred option. It contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties.
Oil Pulling method
1. Put 2 tsp. of the oil in the mouth and keep swirling it in all directions.
2. Spit it out after 10-15 minutes and wash your mouth with warm water.
Studies have shown that this method is effective for preventing halitosis.
4. Stock –up the spices
Spices like cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon and anise seeds are often used in herbal oral care products due their aromatic and anti-microbial properties.
They are instant mouth fresheners that are available in your kitchen. Another way to is to brew mouth rinses by adding the spices to boiling water.
You can also introduce one or two drops of clove oil or peppermint oil to the oil pulling process to get a fresher feeling.
Essential oils of clove, cinnamon and fennel have antiseptic properties and are therefore effective medicines for gum problems.
Homemade herbal rinse
1. Crush together a handful of fennel seeds, whole pepper corns, a piece liquorice, a small piece of sweet flag (vacha) and common salt.
2. Boil the mixture in water, cool and store it in a bottle. Use this concoction to rinse the mouth frequently.
3. Regular use will keep the bad breath away and strengthen the teeth.
5. ‘Fruitful’ Remedies
Eating raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, guava, celery, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli etc. reduces the chance of having bad breath.
Such fruits and veggies are rich in fibre and chewing them produces a natural cleaning effect of teeth by promoting saliva production.
Enzyme pectin in apples and carrots controls food odor. Munching on apples also helps to remove plaque from teeth.
6. Increase the in-take of yogurt and other probiotic foods
Yogurt is rich in probiotic bacteria which improve the digestive process.
Studies have shown that instead of fighting off the bad bacteria, a permanent solution for bad breath would be to nurture the good bacteria or probiotics.
Consuming probiotics reduces the levels of odor causing sulfide compounds in the body. So regular intake of sugarless yogurt reduces the chances of bad breath.
Other than yogurt, paneer, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, parmesan cheese, kombucha, banana etc. are good options of probiotic food.
7. DIY mouthwash using baking soda
1. Baking soda works as a mouthwash by killing off the odor causing bacteria.
2. Make a simple solution of 2 tsp. of baking soda with one cup of warm
3. Use it to rinse and gargle for about 30 seconds. Regular usage will help in maintaining cleaner breath.
Or you could sprinkle a pinch of baking soda onto your toothpaste before brushing. This will help to whiten the teeth.
Baking soda rinse is also effective for curing mouth ulcers.
8. Rinsing solution using pomegranate peel powder
1. Boil 1 tsp. of sun-dried pomegranate peel powder in a cup of water for about 5-8 minutes.
2. Use this lukewarm decoction to gargle for at least 3-4 times a day.
Pomegranate contains powerful antioxidants, which fight microorganisms that causes plaque. This improves overall oral health and reduces the odor causing bacterial activity inside the mouth.
9. Keeping mouth hydrated is important
Saliva is essential to maintain a healthy microbial environment in the mouth. It helps to wash away the odor causing bacteria.
Therefore it is essential to keep the mouth moist so that enough saliva is produced. Drink plenty of water for preserving good oral health.
Instead of just plain water, you can add some flavour and benefit by drinking herbal water brewed with spices.
Boil spices like cardamom, fennel seeds or dried ginger or dried herbs like khus or sappanwood (bakam) in your drinking water.
You might have noticed that occasionally the morning breath stinks even after brushing the teeth at night.
This is because, the saliva dries up during our sleep resulting in bacterial build-up. Green tea is a good solution to this problem. It is packed with antioxidants and keeps mouth moist for a longer time.
Points to remember
- Ensure that you religiously follow your oral care routine.
- While using the DIY mouthwashes, ensure that your spit them out. Ingesting the concoctions may do more harm than good.
- Consult your dentist if your bad breath problems persists even after observing a healthy dental care regime. Immediately consult your doctor if the problem co-exists with other conditions like inflammation or pain in mouth, throat, etc.
- Have regular dental consultations- at least two times a year.
- Bad breath remedies
- Effect of oil pulling in halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trail- Sharath Asokan, R Saravana Kumar, Pamela Emmadi, R Raghuraman, N Sivakumar; www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- https://amp.colate.com-Dental Probiotics for Bad breath: A Solution With Impressive Potential
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Here is a handy booklet on Ayurvedic home remedies circulated by the Central Council for research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of ISM&H, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. Of India.
It offers some simple recipes prepared from the materials available in and around the kitchen, For simple problems like cough, cold, indigestion etc, these preparations are very effective.
For chronic problems like diabetes, joint pain, skin diseases these remedies may be used even along with other medication.
It is always advisable to check with your physician before adopting any new remedy.