Occasional bad breath is just a part of life. But if you have chronic bad breath, it can be a constant source of embarrassment that can affect your life in a variety of ways. Bad breath can drive away friends, damage your relationships, and even have a negative impact on your career. Fortunately, the causes of bad breath are well known and the cures are many.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath, also commonly known as halitosis or malodor, generally stems from two places: inside the mouth and inside the body. Approximately 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. When there is a buildup of bacteria in your mouth, that bacteria causes inflammation that gives off a foul odor, that smells like sulfur, or rotten eggs.
Bad breath can also be caused by cavities, gum disease, tonsils that have trapped food particles, cracked fillings, or dirty dentures. Strong smelling food can cause breath odor, as well as going for periods of time without eating. Without the saliva produced by chewing, bacteria tends to accumulate. This also explains morning breath – after a long night without saliva production, the bacteria have had a field day in your mouth.
Other, more internal, sources of bad breath can include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, chronic bronchitis, acid reflux, postnasal drip, and chronic bronchitis. If you suspect that your bad breath stems from one of these conditions, see your doctor.
Eliminating Bad Breath
Scrape your tongue. Bacteria sticks to the tongue like Velcro and can accumulate in the tongue’s folds, particularly toward the back. To combat this, simply scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper twice a day.
Rinse your mouth. Gargle with a solution that contains zinc chloride (rather than a mouthwash that uses alcohol) to kill bacteria. Look for products with an intense blue or green color.
Produce saliva. For a dry mouth, chew sugar-free or xylitol sweetened gum or suck on mints or candy to keep the saliva flowing.
Natural Remedies for Bad Breath
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: These delicious and nutritious foods are a great source of fiber, which helps to produce the saliva that will wash away food particles and bacteria.
Milk: Sip milk before or during a meal. The fat in the milk neutralizes sulfur and the water content rinses the mouth. Whole milk is more effective because it contains more fat.
Fresh herbs: People used to chew herbs to beat bad breath before mouthwash. They contain chlorophyll, which absorbs odors. Try parsley, mint, dill, basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or cilantro. Swallowing the herbs after chewing them will allow them to continue to combat breath longer.
Apple cider vinegar: Gargling with a solution of ½ tsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water will get rid of odors and make your mouth feel fresh. It also has natural antibacterial properties.
Baking Soda: A mouthwash solution of baking soda and water is a traditional and effective cure for bad breath, if you can handle the taste.
These are some simple yet effective ways to banish bad breath from your life permanently. If you continue to experience chronic halitosis after trying the suggestions above, talk to your dentist for more ideas and solutions.