Is bad breath getting you down? No social situation is more embarrassing than scaring people away with your breath. We all occasionally experience some questionable odors emanating from our mouths. The major culprits of bad breath are poor dental hygiene, cavities, gum disease, all of which create an excess of bad bacteria in our mouth. But smoking, coffee, alcohol, a poor diet, some medications, acid reflux, and certain diseases and infections can also cause bad breath. For some, bad breath comes and goes. For others it can linger indefinitely.
Underlying Causes of Bad Breath
If bad breath is a reoccurring problem for you, be sure to check with your dentist or physician, as bad breath may be a symptom of something more serious. Chronic halitosis may also be a reminder to improve your diet and overall lifestyle. An improper diet can lead to stomach issues, causing bacteria and acidity to form in the mouth.
While the most obvious way to combat bad breath is proper dental hygiene (regular flossing, brushing, and tongue cleaning), sometimes you find yourself in need of a little more help. If you’ve determined there are no underlying medical causes, give some of these natural breath fresheners, many of which you can find right in your pantry.
20 Natural Bad Breath Remedies
1. Chew On Seeds
Fennel, cardamom, sunflower, and anise seeds all sweeten your breath. Try chewing on a handful of these seeds. Their antiseptic qualities all help to fight halitosis-causing bacteria.
2. Try Some Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1 tablespoon of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink before you eat. This will aid digestion, reducing bad breath. You can also gargle as a mouthwash or even apply a small amount onto your toothbrush. Be sure to brush with regular toothpaste afterwards or rinse your mouth well with water, as apple cider vinegar contains acid, which can erode tooth enamel.
3. Enlist the Help of Avocados
Avocados help to eliminate intestinal putrefaction, a cause of bad breath. Eat one daily to keep your mouth fresh and your heart healthy.
4. Grab Some Yogurt
The healthy bacteria in yogurt helps to fight bad breath. Probiotics in yogurt have also been shown to boost your immune system, aid in weight management, and reduce the risk of cancer. Beware, not all yogurts are created equal. Stay away from yogurts with artificial sweeteners or added sugar and look for ones with live or active cultures. If plain yogurt is too tart and bland for you, try adding a squirt of honey to sweeten it up.
5. Herbs To the Rescue
Chew on some fresh parsley or mint leaves after meals. This chlorophyll-rich plant helps to kill odor-causing bacteria.
6. Baking Soda Breath Hack
Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Swish and spit, making sure not to swallow it. You can also use baking soda as a dry toothpaste. Simply dampen your toothbrush and dip it into baking soda before brushing. Baking soda neutralizes built-up acids stuck on your teeth and tongue.
7. Cucumber Cure
Simply place a slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth, hold it there for 30 seconds, then chew and swallow.
8. Swish With Lemon Juice
Rinsing your mouth with lemon water helps to rid bad breath by inhibiting bacteria growth. Sip on lemon water throughout the day. Not only will it keep your mouth moist, but the vitamin C will create an acidic environment, making it hard for bacteria to grow.
9. Try Cloves
For a natural and effective way to fight bacteria growth in your mouth, chew on a few cloves from the spice jar, spitting them out afterward.
10. Essential Oil Remedies
Try adding tea tree oil or peppermint oil to your toothpaste for an even more effective bad breath buster.
11. Munch on an Apple
You’ve heard apples are “nature’s toothbrush” with good reason. An apple a day keeps the bad breath away. Apples contain anti-bacterial properties and fiber, which help to clean your mouth, reducing bad breath. Eating an apple also increases saliva production which reduces bad breath. Crunchy foods such as apples, carrots, and celery, are all good at cleaning food from teeth and removing plaque. If you aren’t near a toothbrush after a meal, try munching on one of these fruits or veggies.
12. Berry Nice Cure
Berries are well-known to be rich in antioxidants. These antioxidant properties help to fight off the bacteria lurking in your mouth. Add a handful of berries to your yogurt for a double bad breath-busting whammy.
13. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a miracle solution and has a multitude of uses. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water to make an effective bad-breath-fighting mouth wash. Swish the mixture in your mouth and spit, making sure not to swallow. Hydrogen peroxide is extremely effective at killing off bacteria in your mouth. Soaking your toothbrush in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide is also effective at killing the bacteria that builds up on your bristles.
14. Raw Honey
Honey’s antibacterial properties help to fight bad breath. Mix a spoonful with a squeeze of lemon juice and take twice daily on an empty stomach.
15. Milk? Yes, Milk!
While cow’s milk isn’t exactly minty fresh, it does help to neutralize sulfur compounds (from onions, for example) in your mouth, which attributes to bad breath. Try sipping milk before or during a meal.
16. Good Ol’ H20
We all know drinking ample amounts of water daily is vital to maintain good overall health, and drinking water after every meal helps to loosen food particles that get stuck between your teeth, causing bad breath. Water also helps to increase salivation, warding off bad breath.
Cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehyde, which reduces bacteria in your mouth and controls bad breath. Try making a cinnamon tea by boiling 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a cup of water. Strain and enjoy daily. You can also chew on a cinnamon stick. The natural oils will be released, killing odor-causing bacteria.
18. Salt Water
You most likely have salt in your kitchen pantry. Try gargling with salt water to treat bad breath. Salt helps to remove bacteria from your mouth and throat.
Fenugreek is an herb similar to clover that has been used for centuries to cure many ailments, one being bad breath. To make a cup of fenugreek tea, boil a few fenugreek seeds in a cup of water, strain when cool, and enjoy. When used regularly, bad breath should diminish. Fenugreek can be purchased online or found at any health food store.
20. Chewing Gum
Don’t be afraid to fall back on this old-time standard. Chewing gum can effectively freshen your breath. Try finding a sugar-free brand made with xylitol to help fight off bacteria.
Natalie LaVolpe is a freelance writer and former special education teacher. She is dedicated to healthy living through body and mind. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband, children, and dog.