Before we begin to explore the remedies for getting rid of bad breath, we need to understand some of the causes of bad breath. Some of the causes that can replace normal breath are:
Abscessed tooth– Infection of the tissue surrounding a tooth that usually fills with pus which has a very smelly odor.
Alcoholism – Immoderate use of alcohol causes decreased production of saliva causing dryness of the mouth. Dry mouth is a leading cause of bad breath.
Atrophic rhinitis – This is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane usually a result of nasal drip due to colds or sinusitis.
Cancers – Cancers such as esophageal, pharyngeal, oral tumors, leukemia, pulmonary and stomach cancer all present severe bad breath due to the decay that is taking place. Additionally, the medical treatments for these cancers can exacerbate the bad breath.
Oral Candida – This is a fungal infection of the mouth cavity. Also known as thrush, it is fairly common among infants, diabetics, chemotherapy patients and people with HIV or AIDS.
Cavities – These holes in the outer two layers of a tooth contain decay which in turn produces bad breath.
Dentures – Dentures are prosthetic replacements for natural teeth and are just as susceptible to the buildup of plaque which causes bad breath. Denture wearers also have a tendency toward dry mouth which also increases the risk of bad breath.
Diabetes – High blood sugar contributes to gum disease. Diabetics have trouble controlling the high blood sugar.
Drugs – Certain drugs such as antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure meds, steroids, cancer therapy drugs, diuretics and oral contraceptives are all known to increase the propensity for bad breath as well as an increased risk for gum disease.
Dry mouth – Dry mouth occurs when saliva production is reduced.
The symptoms of dry mouth can include: Dry, rough tongue; poor sense of taste; burning sensation in your mouth; increased plaque; reduced saliva production.
Food or beverages – All the snacking that we do throughout the day not only contributes to bad breath but snack food is usually very high in carbohydrates and produces excessive amounts of sugar that cause tooth decay and promote bad breath. Harmful acids contained in soda pop attack the enamel on the teeth, yet we sip on sodas all day long.
Foods like garlic, onions, and peppers all have a role in creating bad breath. When the food you eat is released into the bloodstream, the lungs will expel the odor.
While garlic and onions seem to top the list of bad breath offenders, there are other foods that are just as likely to produce bad breath. A few of these are: Meats that are spicy like pepperoni, salami and pastrami; Cheese, especially soft cheeses; Fish; Dairy foods; Seafood; Eggs
Practically every food that is high in protein is also a harbinger of bad breath
Foreign body in the nose – Do you have small children? This is a situation that requires immediate treatment to prevent serious consequences.
Gum disease/Gingivitus – This is inflammation of soft tissue surrounding the teeth.
Impacted tooth – An impacted tooth is one that rebelliously will not erupt into its proper position and most often results in infection.
Periodontal disease – This is a gum disease that occurs when the anaerobic, sulfur producing bacteria become trapped beneath the gum line.
Pharyngitis – This is an inflammation in the area at the back of the mouth known as the Pharynx as usually occurs because of a virus.
Poor dental hygiene.
Sinusitis – This is an inflammation of the sinuses, with or without pus and can carry along with it not only bad breath but a terrible taste in the mouth.
Tobacco smoking – Tobacco smoking encourages growth of bacteria by drying the mouth.
Zenker’s diverticulum – This involves the perforation of the esophageal mucous membrane.
Now let’s look at ways to get rid of that bad breath. It is important to understand that for the most part we will be discussing bad breath remedies that would apply to an average bad breath problem. Serious medical conditions require intervention by your dental physician.
The Mouthwash Myth –
As we mentioned earlier, all people have bad breath on occasion. When they do, most people immediately reach for the mouthwash. Not only is this ineffective but this action can also exacerbate the condition. Why is this so?
Mouthwash contains flavoring and dyes but most importantly the primary component is alcohol! They claim to kill bacteria, which is true in most cases. However, the bacteria is quick to return with an exponential affect because the alcoholic content causes dry mouth which is the leading cause of bad breath. It creates a very ineffectual cycle of repetition.
Rinsing your mouth with salt water is a great home remedy for a sore throat. It is also good for eliminating bad breath. You might also try rinsing with lemon or lime water as well. Both are equally effective and may taste a bit more pleasant than salt water.
Try drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water at least once a day.
Banish the breath mints and chewing gum.
Breath mints and chewing gum only mask the problem and in fact could cause tooth decay. Try some of our alternative recommendations:
Remember the trick the Greeks used? Anise seed is readily available and chewing on a few of them work just as effectively today as they did several thousand years ago. Fennel, cinnamon and cloves also work well. Try popping a few into your mouth after meals to fight bad breath.
Did you ever wonder why parsley and mint are often used as a garnish when dining out? Just like the Greeks, remember the Romans. Chewing on parsley helps fight bad breath.
The reason is the high content of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll very quickly changes carbon dioxide into oxygen in the body. This prepares the digestive tract to prevent gases and toxins from backing up and by lubricating the tract and various valves.
Practice proper dental hygiene.
Poor dental hygiene is a major factor for the cause of bad breath. Yes, you’ve heard it before, brush and floss after every meal and make regularly trips to your dentist for cleaning and examination.
Plaque is the carrier for that sulfur producing bacteria that we discussed earlier. It creates a sticky film that is always present in your mouth. When you eat or drink you add to the buildup of plaque.
This is why regular brushing and flossing is so important. You need to ferret out the problem and deal with it. It’s an ongoing process and you’ll NEVER be rid of it as long as you like to eat, drink and oh yes, live! You must brush at least twice a day to remove all traces of bits of food and plaque. Don’t forget to brush the gums as well!
If you don’t wish to brush after having a meal out at a restaurant, excuse yourself, visit the restroom and at least rinse your mouth well. This practice will go a long way toward healthy gums as well as reducing bad breath resulting from the bacteria remaining in the small bits of food.
You must floss every day taking care to reach every hidden scrap between the teeth.
Brush your tongue daily. A nasty tongue has to be one of the worst offenders for bad breath. Did you know that the ancient Romans brushed their tongues daily? Amazing, isn’t it, how some practices come full circle.
Using your soft bristled brush, brush the tongue gently, taking care not to gag yourself. Do try and reach as far back as comfortable to remove as much of the offending buildup as you can. It’s in that region toward the back of the tongue that produces the majority of the bad breath.
Eat when you are hungry.
Avoid an empty stomach. Yep, that’s right! If you don’t eat, your saliva production is reduced. You need that saliva to wash away the bacteria and avoid dry mouth.
Drink lots of water to keep your mouth moist.
This can help your overall health as well. If you are drinking bottled water, you may be missing out on a valuable resource. Most community water systems include fluoride in your drinking water.
When you drink bottled water you lose out on that benefit. Don’t forget a home water filtration system. For example, if you are using a reverse osmosis system, all the valuable nutrients are being removed including fluoride.
Add tea to your list of preferred beverages.
It is thought that the chemical polyphenols found in tea help to prevent that sulfur producing bacteria that contributes to bad breath.
Try drinking cranberry juice or eating cranberries. Plaque is less likely to form because the cranberries reduce the stickiness of the bacteria.
The holistic healing community suggests that dairy products may contribute to fermentation of food in the stomach. Their suggestion is to eliminate all dairy products for one week and use that as a measure to determine whether your bad breath improves.
Another school of thought suggests using a digestive enzyme after eating each meal. Try taking a small amount (about 1/8th of a teaspoon) of pure sodium bicarbonate approximately 20 minutes after eating. It may very well improve your digestion as well as help in the prevention of bad breath.
Bad breath and your diet.
When indiscriminate snacking takes place oral hygiene goes out the window.
As difficult as it may be, clean your teeth and tongue thoroughly each time you eat anything that is high in protein.
Try and adjust your diet to contain less high protein foods and more high fiber foods. Fiber will help fight constipation. Homeopathic healers report that regular bowel movements help to rid the body of toxins that contribute to bad breath.
Not only will changing to a higher fiber diet help your bad breath, it will also improve the overall health of your digestive system.
Instead of snacking on junk food, try chewing on fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the crunchy foods. Apples, pears, celery and carrots are good suggestions. They will aid in enzyme production and the natural chewing of the crunchy foods will stimulate the gums.
Consider adding yogurt as a permanent part of your daily food intake. It will promote the production of the live bacteria you need.
Stimulate the flow of saliva to keep the mouth moist.
Hopefully after reading through these common causes of bad breath and these common solutions you will be able to eliminate episodes of bad breath. If nothing on this list seems to work a trip to the dentist to see if you have a dental problem that needs attention may be in order.