Table of Contents
Bad breath is unpleasant odour or foul smell coming from the mouth. Other terms for it is halitosis or fetor oris. It can occur occasionally or it can occur daily causing chronic condition. There are many reasons of this condition. Dental problems, some foods, poor oral hygiene, tobacco products, health problems, medications, infections etc can cause unpleasant odour from mouth. Bacteria are normally present in every mouth, they cause degradation of the food etc in the mouth causing unpleasant smell. Foul smell from mouth can cause embarrassment, anxiety, and even hesitation to talk with others. Everyone must know about home remedies for bad breath to have a good lifestyle.
10 Home Remedies for Bad Breath
1. Brushing and flossing
One of the most common reason of foul smell from the mouth is some foods with unpleasant odour such as garlic, onions etc. Food impaction in between teeth also cause foul smell due to degradation of the same by the bacteria. Brushing and flossing removes food debris present on and in between the teeth. Fluoride present in the toothpaste acts as antibacterial and decreases the bacterial load in the mouth. So, it helps in reducing degradation of the food in the mouth. Flavoured toothpaste also provides freshness. By cleaning the teeth properly, one can easily avoid foul smell. It also helps in protection of the teeth from cavities and gum problems. So, it is necessary to brush twice daily and floss daily.
2. Tongue Cleaning
Tongue cleaning is very important as tongue also harbours many bacteria and food debris is also present there. One can use tongue cleaner present on the back of the toothbrush for cleaning both your teeth and tongue. After tooth brushing your upper and lower teeth with an antibacterial toothpaste, flip the toothbrush over to the tongue cleaner. Place the tongue cleaner in the posterior region of the tongue and move it forward to the anterior part of the tongue. After you have scraped that portion of the tongue, rinse the tongue brush off with warm water to remove the debris and odour causing bacteria. Then replace the tongue brush in the next posterior region again and repeat as described above again. Apart from preventing bad odour, everyday practice of tongue cleaning also helps in preventing many diseases in the mouth.
Various types of tongue cleaners, tongue scrapers and tongue brushes are also available commercially. Cleaners and scrapers are more effective than toothbrush (tongue brush) for cleaning the tongue. Tongue cleaners are mostly inexpensive, durable and easy to use. Tongue cleaning gels can also be used along with the cleaner which enhances the cleaning effects due to antibacterial agents.
Just after brushing plaque and bacteria, immediately start accumulating on the teeth. Mouthwash minimizes the accumulation of the plaque and bacteria on the teeth. It prevents their adhesion on the teeth and also protects the teeth. Chlorhexidine mouthwash is very effective in preventing plaque accumulation on the teeth. It also gives freshness to the mouth and provides pleasant odour. Although it is not a cure for bad breath but it helps in reducing the bad smell. There are many other mouthwash available in the market but all of them are not useful. Many contain alcohol, which causes dryness in the mouth and may increase the foul smell. So, use only alcohol free mouthwash. Mouthwash can’t replace brushing and flossing, it is just an aid to them. It is mainly useful in people having gum and periodontal problems.
4. Chewing Gums
Chewing sugar- free gums is beneficial for oral and dental health. These gums stimulates the saliva flow in the mouth which has cleaning action. Chewing the gums also mechanically helps in removal of the plaque and bacteria from the tooth surface. Thereby it helps in reducing the decay of food particles in the mouth. By reducing the decay it helps in preventing foul smell. The flavouring agents present in the gums also impart their smell to the mouth. One can use sugar free chewing gums to reduce bad smell from the mouth and to keep the teeth healthy, whereas sugar containing chewing gums are not good for the dental health.
Sugar present in the chewing gums acts as a food source or substrate for bacteria. Bacteria feed on sugar, rapidly reproduce and makes the halitosis worse. So, be careful in choosing the chewing gums and don’t choose the sugar containing ones.
5. Cleaning of dentures
Many people use dentures to replace their missing teeth. Dentures can be partial of full depending upon the number of teeth missing. If the mouth is completely devoid of teeth, full dentures replace the teeth. Dentures are also of two types, removable and fixed. Removable dentures are more likely to retain food debris, plaque etc. Similar to the natural teeth, plaque also accumulates on the dentures. Retained food debris and plaque then cause halitosis. So, it is very important to clean the dentures regularly. Removable dentures should be removed at the time of sleep. Then the dentures should be kept in normal water. Clean the dentures with denture cleaning gels before use. This helps in reducing the halitosis as well as removing at bed time also maintains the oral health.
6. Dietary modifications
Some foods such as garlic and onions are rich in sulfur compounds. Sulfur compounds leave a distinct odour in the mouth, even in healthiest mouth. Volatile sulfur compounds are the well- known cause of bad odour. They can cause three types of bad smell, rotten egg smell, rotten cabbage or poo breath and fishy breath. Alcohol and alcohol containing drinks also leave a bad smell in the mouth. Fish breaks down to trimethylamine, which has a typical fishy odour. Smoking tobacco such as Bidi, cigarette etc and smokeless tobacco also cause bad smell. Halitosis due to smoking and smokeless tobacco is usually unpleasant to others, they themselves are often unable to tell. Having spicy foods and chillies can cause gastric upset which then in turn causes foul smell.
Bacteria present in the mouth also cause the protein degradation. The semi essential amino acid Cysteine is present in some protein rich foods such as beef & lamb, soybeans, legumes, chicken, pork, egg etc. The body and the bacteria present in the mouth both break down the cysteine to hydrogen sulphide. Hydrogen sulphide has pungent, eggy smell. The hydrogen sulphide also participates in the bacteria induced gum diseases. Some vegetables of the brassica family such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower also contain sulfur. They are usually less gas forming after cooking than raw. They might still be a problem in some persons.
So, first identify the foods which cause temporary halitosis from the chronic cause of bad breath. Either one can remove the odour causing food from the diet, modify it or after having the food one can clean the mouth properly by brushing and flossing. Cleaning the mouth immediately after having the food removes the remaining food debris and helps in reducing the smell.
7. Drinking water frequently
Drinking water frequently washes out the loosely adhered food debris, plaque and bacterial aggregates. This transiently helps in reducing the bad odour. The specific and chronic causes of bad breath needs proper treatment of the underlying pathology. So, one should drink frequent sips of water to avoid bad smell.
8. Stop Smoking and Tobacco use
Smoking and smokeless tobacco both cause bad odour. One should avoid tobacco both in smoking and smokeless forms. As tobacco not only causes bad smell but also it is a proven cause of cancer. So, avoid tobacco and keep yourself at a lower risk of cancer.
9. Use of Mint
Chewing the Mint leaves stimulates the flow of saliva in the mouth. It also scrape the odour causing bacteria from the teeth. Mint helps in digestion and also eases heart burn. The minty flavour also gives freshness and minty smell. So, one can use mint leaves or mint containing lozenges, chewing gums etc to reduce bad odour from the mouth.
10. Raw Vegetables and Fruits
Consumption of dietary fiber rich raw vegetables and fruits in snacks or in meal helps in cleaning the teeth naturally. It removes the food debris, plaque and bacteria and helps in reducing the bad smell. So, avoid fast foods in snacks and bite on raw vegetables and fruits for better oral and dental health.
Bad breath is a common problem and poor oral hygiene is most common cause of it. So, one should maintain proper oral hygiene to avoid this problem. Apart from this, there are some other conditions which can cause this. Dry mouth (lack of saliva), some medicines such as nitrates etc, medical conditions such as diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, lung diseases, infections in the throat, mouth etc can also cause bad breath. These conditions needs proper medical treatment.
One should take consultation from the dentist for the cause of bad breath in order to prevent this problem. Transient causes can be treated by the above mentioned remedies, so one can try these. Chronic causes of bad odour needs proper consultation and treatment. So, don’t neglect the unpleasant smell.