The only thing worse than being stuck in a close knit conversation with someone with bad breath or halitosis is wondering how your own breath is stacking up. There are many contributing factors to bad breath such as having just eaten certain foods like garlic and onions which go through the bloodstream and come out in air from the lungs, but it can also be caused by poor oral health, diseased gums, and cavities. We have lots of bacteria naturally occurring in our mouths and sometimes they get trapped in teeth and diseased gums becoming smelly. Infections, disorders in the intestines, respiratory infections, decaying food particles trapped in between teeth, plaque, deficient nutrition, and diabetes can all be culprits when it comes to bad breath. For many people this is a temporary condition that some mouthwash, a mint or gum can cover up. But these type of solutions only work for about half an hour to two hours. Around 30% of the people in the world have bad breath chronically or halitosis. This means there is an underlying cause that just covering up won’t fix or prevent. If you maintain good oral health by regular brushing, flossing, dental checkups and cleanings and rinse with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and still have problems with halitosis, the first place to start may be with your healthcare provider to see if there is an underlying condition that needs to be treated. Beyond that here are some other natural solutions to help with halitosis and with shorter-term bad breath problems.
Natural Solutions for Halitosis and Bad Breath
Friendly Bacteria to the Rescue – The intestines can become overrun with toxins and yeast if you don’t have enough friendly bacteria taking care of them. This can result in several conditions and bad breath can be one of the symptoms. Natural solutions for this problem include getting more probiotics (friendly bacteria) in your system working for you. That could include eating more foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods or taking a high quality probiotic supplement that has live active cultures. According to a 2011 study in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, taking probiotic supplements to introduce more friendly bacteria into the diet helped get rid of oral bacteria that produced odors. You can also get rid of stinky bacteria by getting more digestive enzymes either with a supplement or by eating more raw foods which also help keep teeth clean. Enzymes not only help digestion by breaking foods down into smaller particles, but also go through the intestinal system removing toxins, bacteria and damaged cells. Other natural solutions for dealing with bacteria that causes bad breath include replacing your toothbrush every few months, scraping your tongue daily, or chewing herbs such as parsley, basil, mint or cilantro that all have chlorophyll that can help reduce odors or spices such as cloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, and aniseeds that have antiseptic properties or cinnamon with antimicrobial properties to reduce bad breath odors.
Beef Up Your Zinc Intake – A diet lacking in zinc can be a cause of halitosis as this mineral aids in cleaning bacteria from the mouth with its antimicrobial properties. According to Heather Caruso, author of Your Drug-Free Guide to Digestive Health, making sure you get the proper amounts of zinc can help with halitosis resulting from oral disease. Foods rich in zinc include lean beef, pork, oysters, poultry, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso.
Hydrate For Saliva – Microbes in the mouth exist on food particles they find in the mouth and are often responsible for bad breath. One of the jobs of saliva is to get rid of these bacteria. This doesn’t happen if you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva to do the job. Saliva has enzymes that help in producing antibodies to fight off these bacteria and has oxygen which makes it harder for these bacteria to thrive in. Natural solutions for increasing saliva production include drinking lots of water without fluoride during the day and eating raw, crunchy veggies and fruits. Foods such as carrots and celery help prevent plaque building up that can contribute to bad breath and create more saliva. Apples not only help fight off plaque, but have pectin that fights off odors from foods, and can help make more saliva. Citric acid that you can get from chewing on citrus fruit rinds like lemons or oranges also help produce more saliva.
Detox Your System – Halitosis can result from toxins building up in your system and detoxing these can help reduce mouth odors. Stinging nettle tea is one of the natural solutions that can help with getting rid of toxins in the body, as well as cleaning blood, helping the kidneys flush out uric acid, and increase adrenal function.
Next time you wonder how your breath is affecting others, cup your hand or a cloth to do the exhale and smell test. If you find your breath may be offensive try out some of these natural solutions to clean it up. If you find you still have problems with halitosis, be sure you make an appointment with your healthcare provider to see if you have an underlying medical cause. It could be something simple and treatable that will get you back to having clean smelling breath and more pleasant to be around.
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