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There are few things that are more off-putting than bad breath. It can not only ruin one’s confidence but also leads to embarrassment in public.
Contrary to popular belief, bacterial growth in your oral cavity is not the only reason for bad breath, though it may be one of the major reasons. Bad breath may also occur due to other conditions related to the gastrointestinal system such as H.pylori infection of stomach and diseases of the upper throat. These bacteria produce specific compounds in your mouth and gut, which manifest in the form of bad breath. Fortunately, for most people, bad breath can be easily tackled with some basic improvements in your dental hygiene.

Read on to know all those lifestyle modifications that may help you get rid of your bad breath problems at home without the need to visit a doctor. And as an extra treat, evidence-based home remedies for bad breath are also discussed. 

  1. Oral hygiene for reducing bad breath
  2. Home remedies for bad breath

Most people experience bad breath in the morning. Also known as morning breath, it happens because of the changes that occur in the mouth at night. Our mouth produces less saliva at night so there is no washing off of dead cell and leftover materials. These dead cells stick to your tongue and generate that smell. Morning smell is very common and you don't need to worry about it until or if the smell persists even after brushing properly. The latter may be an indication of poor oral hygiene.
To maintain oral health, it important to follow proper dental and oral hygiene. Let us have a virtual look at the proper way to cleanse your oral cavity daily:

  • Brush your mouth properly: Brushing regularly is the first and most important step to a good oral hygiene. Not only does it reduce patogenic bacteria but also it clears accumulated food in your mouth, thus preventing bad breath. For best results, it is advised to brush at least twice daily (in the morning and before going to sleep). Make sure to clean the back of teeth and remove all the food remainings with brush properly. Brush lightly in all directions.properly cleaning of teeth is important to remove all the accumulated bacteria in the mouth. 
  • Floss: Flossing is important to remove any leftover material in between your teeth. This leftover food material can act as a nutrient source for bacteria in the mouth, promoting their growth and proliferation. So, it is really important to floss your teeth properly to reduce any chance of bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. A variety of waxed and non-waxed floss wires are available in the market, you can choose and buy one that suits you well. On a general note, consider buying a floss that is thin enough to easily slide between your teeth and does not hurt you. Once you get the right floss wire for yourself, floss your teeth in the following way:
    • Take the floss wire and gently move it in between your teeth. Don't hurt yourself with floss
    • Hold the floss tightly with your fingers at both ends and the middle of the wire in between the teeth
    •  Fold the floss in C shape and start flossing. Don't forget to floss any teeth
    • Floss at least once a day
  • Clean your tongue: Pathogenic microbes not only accumulate on your teeth and gums but also on your tongue. So, regular cleaning of tongue is as important as brushing and flossing. Use a tongue cleaner and scrape off all the plaque on your tongue. Do not scrape too hard else you can cut your tongue. This will eliminate all the microbes along with the malodor.
  • Mouth wash: To clear the germs in your mouth, it is important to use a mouth was at least once a day after brushing your teeth.
    • Mouthwashes are easily available in the market but some commercially marketed mouthwashes have alcohol, which can lead to drying of the mouth. Either choose a mouthwash that doesn't have alcohol in it or you can make a natural mouthwash for yourself by mixing some cinnamon in water and adding some lemon juice and honey to it
    • Mix it well and your mouth wash is ready to use

A good oral hygiene will be enough to get rid of bad breath in most cases, however, for bad breath originating from gastrointestinal conditions you can opt for some home remedies. Most of these remedies have dual action on bad breath. They help suppress the growth of microbes in the oral cavity and also help alleviate the underlying conditions for bad breath, thereby providing relief from this condition. 

  1. Cinnamon for bad breath
  2. Fenugreek for bad breath
  3. Clove for bad breath
  4. Lemon for bad breath
  5. Zinc for bad breath
  6. Peppermint for bad breath
  7. Green tea for bad breath
  8. Fennel for bad breath
  9. Oil pulling for bad breath
  10. Baking soda for bad breath
  11. Cardamom for bad breath

Cinnamon for bad breath

Cinnamon or commonly known as daalachini is a common kitchen herb. And just like most spices, cinnamon is loaded with medicinal benefits. It has been used since long as a natural mouth freshener. Various studies have been conducted to find the mechanism by which cinnamon tackles bad breath problems and it has been found that cinnamon has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It creates a hostile environment for bacteria, preventing their overgrowth in the oral cavity. Cinnamon oil has also been found to be effective in disrupting the biofilm formed by bacteria in the mouth.

Thus, regular use of cinnamon can help in reducing the growth of bacteria in the mouth and alleviating other oral problems that may be responsible for bad breath.

The best and the easiest way to use cinnamon for removing oral malodour is by chewing cinnamon sticks. You can also soak cinnamon stick overnight in an airtight container or mix the cinnamon powder into water and use it as a mouthwash.
Taking cinnamon in the form of tea helps relieve problems related to the stomach and throat, which may be the underlying conditions for bad breath.

Fenugreek for bad breath

Also known as methi, fenugreek is well known for reducing bad breath, especially when it occurs due to infection or bacterial growth. Fenugreek is said to have antibacterial properties, hence consumption of fenugreek regularly can be really helpful in getting rid of bad breath.

Furthermore, fenugreek helps soothe the digestive system and provide respite from upper respiratory tract infections, two of the most common causes of bad breath.

To get the maximum benefit from this spice, you can consume fenugreek in the form of a tea. Just soak fenugreek leaves or seeds in water overnight and consume the water after staining the very next day.

Clove for bad breath

Clove is one of the most well-known herbs for alleviating oral problems. No wonder it is effective in reducing bad breath too. Studies indicate that clove has potent antibacterial properties, which assist in eliminating harmful bacteria from mouth, ultimately helping you get rid of bad breath.

Furthermore, cloves are used as a natural mouth freshener, so they can help you get rid of garlic breath too! To get the benefits from this earthy spice, you can chew on it or make clove tea. Apart from reducing bacterial growth in the mouth, clove tea helps relieve bad breath due to mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract.

Clove is also very useful to get rid of smokers mouth. For this, You need to clean your mouth with water after smoking and chew 1-2 cloves.

(Also read: Harmful effects of smoking and health benefits of quitting)

Lemon for bad breath

Lemon juice is mainly acid, namely citric acid and most bacteria can’t survive in an acidic environment. So, when you take lemon juice, it kills and eliminates bacteria from the mouth. The refreshing citrusy fragrance of lemon juice also helps get rid of garlic breath.
Studies indicate that the low pH of lemon induces acid deodorization and helps in getting rid of the smell in the mouth due to food items like garlic. To get rid of garlic breath, squeeze 2 fresh lemons in a glass of water and rinse your mouth properly. This will kill all the germs in your mouth and help you get rid of bad breath.

Zinc for bad breath

Zinc is one of the common ingredients in commercially marketed products for oral hygiene. This is because zinc is a great remedy for bad breath. Zinc ions inhibit oral malodor by direct binding with gaseous Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) and suppressing the growth of oral bacteria.
However, you cannot apply or use zinc directly in your mouth. Hence it is advised to get zinc through oral hygiene products. Getting a product that has a combination of zinc ions with chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride can give you better results.

Peppermint for bad breath

Peppermint mouthwash can be the safest, and quick solution for halitosis. This aromatic herb is said to have a high amount of menthol, which gives a cooling and refreshing sensation in the mouth. It also reduces bacterial growth, relieves upset stomach and opens sinuses.
A study conducted among 43 school students in Tehran for a week demonstrated the efficiency of peppermint in reducing oral malodour. In this study, students were asked to rinse their mouth with peppermint solution 3 times in a week and don't eat anything after rinsing for at least 30 minutes. All the students were re-examined after one week and it was found that halitosis was decreased by 24.4 percent in total. This action of peppermint was attributed to its anti-microbial actions helped in killing and eliminating the microbes present in the mouth that caused the malodor.

You can directly chew mint leaves after washing them properly to get rid of halitosis or soak them overnight in water to be used as a natural mouthwash. To get more benefits from this herb, you can drink peppermint tea or add mint leaves to your salads.

Green tea for bad breath

Green tea is a great remedy for most of the underlying causes of halitosis. Not only does it help reduce bacterial growth in the mouth but also it helps reduce digestive and respiratory problems responsible for bad breath. Green tea also contains various bioactive compounds that help in improving overall health and thereby reducing oral malodour.
In a clinical study people with halitosis were given green tea as a mouthwash two times a day for a total period of 28 days. The plaque index and volatile sulphur compounds were measured after 30 minutes and 3 hours after rinsing. Significant reduction (36.76% and 33.18%) in the amount of volatile sulphur compound was noted in most of the individuals by the end of the study. These results proved the efficiency of green tea in treating halitosis. You can either drink green tea daily or use it as a mouthwash, twice a day to get rid of bad breath.

Fennel for bad breath

Fennel is yet another spice that possesses antimicrobial properties and helps get rid of bad breath. It soothes stomach problems and helps promote digestion. The sweet fragrance of fennel seeds is strong enough to masks garlic breath easily. That is probably why it is traditionally served after meals. You can chew fennel seeds directly to extract the juice or make a fennel mouthwash by soaking fennel seeds overnight in water. Overnight soaking will allow the juices in fennel seed to get dissolved in water. When you rinse your mouth with this water next morning after brushing, it will kill all the residual bacteria and give you a fresh breath.

Oil pulling for bad breath

Oil pulling may have risen in popularity during the recent years but it is a traditional Indian folk remedy used to get rid of bad bread.  For effective oil pulling, you just need to follow these simple steps

  • Take a tablespoon of oil
  • Squish it all around your mouth for 15 minutes
  • Don’t swallow the oil
  • Spit the oil when done

Oil pulling generates antioxidants, which kill harmful microbes by rupturing their cell walls. Moreover, during oil pulling, oil gets emulsified and creates a coating all over the mouth, including teeth, gums, and tongue. This inhibits bacterial co-aggregation and plaque formation. But, this emulsification will only occur when you squish oil in the mouth for more than 5 minutes.
Olive oil can be a good choice for oil pulling. It contains phenolic compounds, squalene, phytosterols; vitamin Avitamin E and vitamin K, which give it antimicrobial, immuno-modulatory and antioxidative properties, making this oil an excellent remedy for most oral problems. You can also use any other oil like coconut oil. Though, it is recommended to choose an oil with antimicrobial properties so that it works better in killing microbes.

Baking soda for bad breath

Baking soda is a well-known remedy for halitosis. But is it as effective as it is portrayed? Why yes it is! Baking soda helps neutralise the acidic conditions in your mouth and suppresses bacterial growth, thereby reducing bad breath. Studies have shown that using a high concentration of baking soda converts volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath, to non-odorous forms, reducing the malodor in the mouth. You just need to use some amount of baking soda dissolved in water and rinse your mouth with this solution.
It is advised not to swallow baking soda as it can have some side effects like vomiting and diarrhoea Moreover, don't use baking soda too much as it can lead to corrosion of teeth.

(Read more: How to use baking soda for teeth whitening)

Cardamom for bad breath

Cardamom is one of the best mouth fresheners. These seeds contain a combination of 3 compounds: terpene, esters, flavonoids, and cineole. Out of which, cineole is a potent antiseptic and is known to kill bacteria that are responsible for producing bad breath and other oral infections. It also helps sooth the stomach and masks the odour of pungent foods and cigarette smoke.

So the next time you need to get rid of that onion breath quickly just peel off the upper layer of cardamom and chew its seeds. The extract from seeds of cardamom will give your mouth a fresh smell erasing the bad odour.

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