Why bad breath is an EMERGENCY!
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a symptom which is identified by its very unpleasant, consistent odor.
Many medical issues, such as chronic bronchitis, post-nasal drip, respiratory tract infection, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and digestive disorders like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) can result in bad breath.
Fortunately for most people, the cause of halitosis is not so serious. The most common problem that leads to bad breath is as simple as poor oral hygiene. Some additional problems may be due to periodontal disease or a dry mouth.
What is the actual cause of the unpleasant smell? When the bacteria in one’s mouth breaks down the leftover food particles and dead cells in the mouth, a foul-smelling gas is produced. Bacteria flourish in areas that lack oxygen; in this case, the back of the tongue as well as deep gum pockets.
Treating Bad Breath (Halitosis) with Home Remedies
Once again, it bears repeating that the most common cause of bad breath is simply due to poor oral hygiene. As such, the simplest solution would be to improve one’s oral hygiene.
If you’ve ever been to see a dentist, then you would probably have heard the usual ‘brush twice a day and floss daily’ line a dozen times already. There’s a reason why it is so commonly said: it works. Period.
However, if you have any serious concerns about your halitosis, it is always recommended to seek professional guidance first before trying to embark on any home remedy treatment. See your dentist first before trying any of the below.
Without further ado, here are ten home remedies to try out:
Use mouthwash containing zinc ions. It is believed that zinc will neutralize malodorous sulfur compounds in one’s mouth, which will improve breath. This can be easily bought in various health store mouthwash sections and drug store brands.
Drink tea. Initial research shows that a certain compound in black and green tea, namely polyphenol, can halt the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. Additionally, polyphenols can also stop existing bacteria from creating malodorous compounds like hydrogen sulfide.
Use herbs. Herbs can help freshen your breath. To start, try chewing on parsley, tarragon, spearmint, or a small sprig of fresh rosemary for up to a minute to cure bad breath.
Use mouthwash containing essential oils. Initial studies indicate that plant oils, which are essential oils, can assist in reducing bad breath. A recent study looked at how an essential oil mouthwash that contained peppermint oil, lemon oil, and tea tree oil fared against a standard mouthwash.
The results were surprising: the amount of volatile sulfur compounds was discovered to be far lower when using the essential oil mouthwash as opposed to the regular mouthwash. It is best to buy a commercially prepared essential oil mouthwash than to try to purchase the oils individually to make your own, especially if you have no experience.
Use a tongue scraper. These useful little devices are effective at removing food particles, dead cells, and odor causing bacteria from the tongue. Most drug stores and some health food stores will contain this special plastic instrument, and it is extremely cheap at only a few dollars per pack.
In Ayurveda medicine, the thick coating of the tongue is referred to as “ama” and is believed to be the result of poor or incomplete digestion. Thus, cleaning the tongue with a scraper is highly recommended as a consistent regimen to clear out ama. Keep in mind that the idea is to scrape gently and to thoroughly rinse the mouth afterward. If a tongue scraper cannot be found, a decent alternative is to simply scrape with a toothbrush.
Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. This is important because alcohol can cause dehydration, especially in the mouth, and this is a contributing factor to halitosis.
Drink fluids. If a dehydrated mouth can contribute to bad breath, then a well hydrated one will not. Another reason this is so important is because in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that excess heat in one’s stomach can cause bad breath. Water, watery fruits and vegetables, and soup may help to rebalance the body.
Eat bitter foods. According to traditional Chinese medicine, certain bitter foods like Belgian endive as well as other dark, green, and leafy vegetables can assist with stomach heat. On the other hand, certain foods like alcohol, sugar, coffee, milk, and spicy or fried foods are believed to worsen the condition.
Snack on crunchy foods. They can help clear out food, plaque, and bacteria from teeth. Some examples are: celery, apples, jicama, or carrots.
Manage your stress. There are people who, despite following all the advice (like maintaining good oral hygiene) still cannot get rid of their bad breath. A preliminary study suggested that in young and healthy men with proper oral maintenance, stress seemed to cause a spike in the production of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth that cause bad breath.
If all else fails, do not hesitate to see a doctor immediately. It is not worth risking your teeth, gums, and overall health trying to cure your bad breath with no experience or guidance. Remember that the above steps are to be performed in addition to regular scheduled check-ups with your dentist to ensure that everything is proceeding well.