Prevent Bad Breath without Harsh Chemicals
One of the biggest problems with bad breath (halitosis) is that it’s difficult to tell if you have bead breath yourself — so unless your friends, family and coworkers have an honest streak in them and hopefully your best interests at heart, you may be walking around unaware that your breath stinks. If you have to depend on yourself to be the judge, try breathing into a paper towel or floss and sniff to see how your breath is doing.
The first step in determining how best to treat bad breath is to identify the cause. Usually, it’s just a matter of needing to clean your mouth that may be filled with plague—the bacteria that coats your mouth. There can also be decaying food trapped between teeth and gums causing a bad odor.
If bad breath is a continuous problem, you might have a dental issue such as a damaged tooth or gum disease that can cause a problem. These are treatable issues, and most dentists will be able to identify the problem for you and either provide treatment or a referral to a specialist. If the dentist cannot identify the cause of your bad breath, it might be a physical problem that your family practitioner can help you identify and treat such as infections in the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal tract. Diabetes can also cause a chemical-like smell or a strange sweet smell.
Certain foods and ingredients with strong odors such as garlic, onions, curry spices, alcohol and heavy doses of certain vitamins can be carried through the blood stream and exhaled or even excreted through sweat glands. The worst culprit is tobacco — smoked or chewed.
However, no matter the cause, every once in a while bad breath is a reality that we end up needing to address. Here are some natural remedies for managing bad breath:
- Clean your mouth. Brush your teeth twice per day, including your tongue and floss daily. This will help control plaque, remove trapped food and help prevent gum disease.
- If you wear dentures, remove them when you prepare to go to bed—clean them and give them a break leaving them out until morning.
- Stay hydrated. Water is critical to help the flow of saliva, which cleans your mouth and also has an antibacterial function. Also, using a sugarless mint can be helpful.
- Manage stress. Stress, panic, nervousness—can all dry out your mouth and lead to bad breath. Oh, and have water around!
- Limit strong foods, ingredients and other consumables. Garlic, onions, oily fish and seafood (anchovies, mackerel, sardines, etc.), curry spices and some vitamins such as B12 can linger in an unpleasant way.
- Baking soda. Use baking soda as toothpaste by dipping a damp toothbrush in the baking soda and brushing. The natural odor absorption properties of baking soda can be helpful.
- Water. So important it’s worth mentioning twice—swish it around in your mouth to help loosen food particles and clean your mouth. Do this for about 20 seconds in place of mouthwash for similar effects.
- Eat vegetables. Carrots, celery and cucumbers can help manage plaque.
- Aromatic herbs and spices. Clove, cinnamon, fennel, parsley, mint, ginger and cardamom are clean-smelling herbs and spices, many of which have antimicrobial properties that can manage bad breath.