Bad breath (medically known as halitosis), when not due to the consumption of exotic spices, garlic or onions, is most often caused by mouth dwelling bacteria. Other factors that may be involved include constipation, diabetes, heavy metal buildup, improper nutrition, indigestion, periodontal disease, sinus or throat infections, smoking, stress and tooth decay.
The most common cause for halitosis is the tongue. Large quantities of natural occurring bacteria are often found at the rear area of the tongue. This part of the tongue is poorly cleaned and relatively dry, allowing bacteria to thrive on traces of food. Crunchy, mouth scrubbing foods such as; apples, carrots and celery are recommended snacks.
Tongue scraping may help get rid of bad breath – and help prevent it as well. Scraping the tongue will cleanse it of millions of tiny bacteria that most people miss when brushing. Tongue scrapers can be purchased at drug stores and health food stores. TIP: A spoon will work just as well.
A dry mouth is another cause of unpleasant breath. Drinking generous amounts of nonalcoholic beverages between meals not only helps prevent “desert mouth” but also helps improve digestion. Saliva is a natural bacteria-prevention cleanser. Common causes of dry mouth include the use of alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, over the counter medicine, (such as decongestants and diuretics), smoking and stress.
Foods like curry, garlic and onions all contain aromatic compounds that enter the bloodstream, circulate through the lungs and are then exhaled as offensive breath that can last as long as 24 hours.
1. Acidophilus is needed to replenish “friendly” bacteria in the colon. Lack of friendly bacteria and an excess of harmful bacteria can cause bad breath. Eating yogurt may be beneficial because the Lactobacillus culture it contains supports the friendly bacteria that battle odor producing intestinal micro-organisms.
2. A deficiency of B vitamins can be responsible for halitosis. Some cases have been cleared by taking 50 milligrams of niacinamide with each meal, plus a high potency B complex tablet and 50 milligrams of B6 once a day.
3. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids help rid the body of excess mucus and toxins that can instigate offensive breath. Take divided daily doses of 1,000 to 6,000 milligrams.
4. Zinc has an antibacterial effect and neutralizes sulfur compounds, a common cause of mouth odor. A lack of this dietary mineral may cause halitosis – which may be corrected by taking 30 to 60 milligrams everyday.
5. In place of sucking on breath mints – chew a sprig of parsley. It follows the same metabolic path as garlic. This will release pleasant aromas through the lungs. Parsley is rich in chlorophyll, the active ingredient in many popular breath mints.
6. Chlorophyll “green drinks” are one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Chlorophyll cleanses the blood stream and colon, where bad breath often begins. Good sources include alfalfa liquid, barley juice and wheatgrass. Chlorophyll can also be used as a mouth rinse by adding 1 tablespoon to a 1/2 glass of water.
7. A cup of peppermint tea everyday may prove beneficial. Peppermint enters the bloodstream and is exhaled through the lungs in the same manner as parsley. For a gargle add 2 drops of peppermint oil to a cup of warm water.
8. For quick fresh breath, mix together ground cinnamon and baking soda. Scoop the mixture onto your toothbrush and brush away your bad breath.
9. Clove has many valuable actions, from stimulant to antiseptic to breath freshener. One leaf put into your mouth – even after a garlic laden lunch or diner – will freshen your breath for hours.
10. Anise seeds; or aniseed, chewed on is an effective breath freshener and will aid your digestion. Aniseed is available at the spice counter of most supermarkets.
11. Fennel seeds are a quick and easy solution. Slowly chew a few seeds, letting your saliva become coated with its properties – OR – empty the contents of a fennel capsule and mix with an equal amount of baking soda, then brush your teeth, gums and tongue. You can also gargle with a tea made from the seeds.
12. Double strength herbal teas brewed from antiseptic herbs make excellent mouth rinses for temporary control of bad breath. Antiseptic herbs include allspice, anise seed, balm, chamomile, chaparral, cinnamon, clove, echinacea, eucalyptus, eyebright, fenugreek, horsetail, goldenseal, meadowsweet, myrrh, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sandlewood, saw palmetto, thyme, white willow and winter savory.
If good oral hygiene and natural remedies do not resolve your bad breath, a health care professional should be consulted.