Home Remedies for Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Home remedies for bad breath include the use of herbs, natural supplements such as vitamins, and aromatherapy.
We all know that eating strong-smelling or pungent foods such as garlic and onions can result in bad breath. These foods contain sulphur compounds that are released
into the mouth as well as the bloodstream and the lungs. Luckily, bad breath caused by foods goes away as soon as the foods are fully metabolized.
However, chronic bad breath (halitosis) is a symptom indicating a deeper underlying problem. Let's identify some most common causes of halitosis.
Common Causes of Bad Breath (Halitosis)
- Poor Dental Hygiene: Perhaps the most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. For example, if you do not floss or
brush your teeth after eating, bacteria will feed on food particles and dead cells in the mouth. Bacteria thrive in enviroments that lack oxygen, such as the back of the
tongue and deep gum pockets. These bacteria produce sulfur compounds as a digestive by-product, causing bad breath.
- Dental or Gum Disease: Another common cause of bad breath is diseased gums or dental problems. Dental decay at the roots of the teeth may
cause pockets or abscesses in the gums to form and germs to grow, causing bad breath.
- Smoking: Smoking is also a common cause of bad breath - another good reason to quit smoking!
- Constipation: If you are constipated, your body cannot eliminate the various toxins in the body via your bowels, so some of such toxins will be
eliminated through your breath.
- Various Infections: Infections such as tonsillitis or sinusitis can also be the underlying cause of bad breath. These infections are caused
by food or environmental allergens causing mucus formation and postnasal drip.
- Long-term Use of Antibiotics: Antibiotics can kill off the good flora in your mouth, resulting in overgrowth of bad bacteria that cause bad
- Possibility of a Serious Disease: In rare cases, bad breath is caused by a serious disease such as diabetes, kidney failure or liver disease.
Therefore, if you have bad breath and have ruled out all the other possible causes, be sure to pay a visit to your doctor for a medical check-up.
Home Remedies for Bad Breath - Herbs
Some herbs make excellent home remedies for bad breath:
- Parsley: Parsley can freshen our breath. Chew on a small sprig of fresh parsley for up to a minute after meals. Alternatively, take a few
drops of a liquid parsley extract after meals. Other herbs that have breath-freshening properties include spearmint, rosemary, and tarragon.
- Bitter Herbs: If your bad breath is caused by a sluggish digestive system, try taking a digestion formula that contains bitter herbs, such as gentian. Bitter herbs can improve the
overall functioning of our digestive system.
- Milk Thistle: If constipation is the cause of your bad breath, detoxify your liver using the herb milk thistle, which is "the" herb for liver.
Home Remedies for Bad Breath - Natural Supplements
- Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll is an agent that neutralizes odor in the lungs and bloodstream. Foods that are rich in chlorophyll include parsley,
alfalfa, spirulina, and chlorella. You can also take liquid chlorophyll after each meal.
- Probiotics: Probiotics contain "friendly bacteria" that prevent the overgrowth of "bad bacteria" which cause bad breath. In addition, probiotics
improve and strengthen the digestive system.
- Coemzyme Q10: CoQ10 is beneficial if your bad breath is caused by active gum disease.
Home Remedies for Bad Breath - Aromatherapy
Essential oils are effective in eliminating bacteria and neutralizing bad breath. Studies have shown that essential oils are more effective than commercial mouthwash to
reduce the level of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth.
You can add about 4 drops of peppermint oil or lavender oil to a glass of clean water and use it as a mouthwash.
If you have gum disease, add 2 drops of each of the following oils to a glass of water and use it as a mouthwash:
Home Remedies for Bad Breath - Diet
Base your diet on foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.
To help maintain a healthy digestive system, unsweetened cultured yogurt is beneficial.
For good dental health, vitamins A and C are important. Foods rich in vitamin A include green or orange vegetables such as carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, and spinach. For
vitamin C, eat citrus fruits.
Water is also essential in maintaining a healthy digestive system and eliminating toxins. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water every day.
To prevent bad breath, avoid:
- Red meat, processed or fried foods: These foods take a long time to go through the digestive system and can cause constipation and bad breath.
- Sugar: Avoid foods high in refined sugar - a major cause of tooth decay.
Other Home Remedies for Bad Breath
- Drink Tea: Preliminary research suggests that compounds in both green and black tea (called polyphenols) may stop the growth of bacteria which
are responsible for bad breath.
- Brush Carefully and Thoroughly: Floss after meals and brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day, especially before going to bed at
- Scrape your Tongue: Use a tongue-scraper to scrape the bacteria off your tongue.
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies, (Rodale, 2002)
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