12 Natural and Easy Ways to Fight Bad Breath

Have you ever had bad breath? You’re not alone. Bad breath can be embarrassing and affect anyone without notice, but there is good news. In this article, we’ll go over what causes bad breath and natural solutions that may help you say goodbye to bad breath for good.


What you'll find:

Breath of fresh air: 12 natural ways to fight bad breath

Behind the odor: the causes of bad breath

Beyond the basics: when bad breath persists


12 natural ways to fight bad breath

Some causes of bad breath are temporary and can fade with time. However, you want something that works quickly when you notice a mouth odor. Here are 12 natural, science-backed ways to keep your breath smelling fresh.

1. Home care

Studies show that 90% of bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The natural conditions of the mouth, like moisture and temperature, make it an ideal place for bacteria to thrive. Therefore, a good oral home care routine is essential. A proper oral care routine should include:

  • Brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing at least twice daily. However, consider brushing after each meal if you eat something with strong odors.
  • Flossing. Typically, it is recommended to floss once per day. While string floss has been the gold standard, many professionals now recommend using a water flosser as well.
  • Tongue scraping. Much of the bacteria that cause bad breath can hide on the tongue. Therefore, gently brush the surface with your regular toothbrush or use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria.

2. Mouthwash

According to the ADA, mouthwashes with therapeutic agents may provide long-term control of bad breath and improve oral health. However, mouthwashes that contain alcohol may dry the mouth more, so be sure to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash.

You may consider making your own mouthwash. Many DIY mouthwashes use tea tree oil, which has antimicrobial properties and can help prevent bad breath. Even a simple, warm saltwater mouth rinse can help control dry mouth and avoid halitosis.

3. Water

Saliva plays a huge role in developing bad breath. Studies show a person’s hydration level directly affects saliva production. When there is less saliva, plaque, and bacteria are not easily washed from the teeth and mouth. So, keep a bottle of water handy to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and lower your risk of developing bad breath.

4. Fruits and veggies

Of course, fruits and veggies are good for your overall health, but they can help with bad breath, too. Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, and limes, are packed with vitamin C. Studies show vitamin C can help increase saliva production. While snacking on crunchy, fibrous foods, like carrots, apples, and celery, can help scrub plaque from the tooth surface and stimulate saliva.

5. Dental probiotics

Dental probiotics are specially designed to work with the natural bacteria in your mouth. They help restore the balance of good bacteria while reducing problematic bacteria that cause dental issues. Dental probiotics can help prevent bad breath, cavities, and periodontal issues when used regularly.

6. Parsley

Some research suggests parsley can help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Parsley contains chlorophyll, which many claim helps prevent bad breath. While research supporting the odor-reducing benefits of chlorophyll is limited, it is still widely used. You can chew fresh parsley leaves or get it in a dietary supplement.

7. Fennel and anise seeds

These seeds have been used for centuries in Indian cultures. They are believed to treat and cure many ailments, including bad breath. These seeds have a slightly sweet, pleasant licorice flavor, making them a great after-meal mouth mint. You can roast them or chew them raw.

8. Cloves

Studies show that cloves and clove oil can help reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth and improve oral health. Clove is often used in natural mouthwash and toothpaste. You can chew on whole cloves, use clove oil in a DIY mouthrinse, or make clove tea. Simply add a few cloves to boiling water and let it steep. Then, after it cools, rinse or brush with the tea.

9. Green tea

Green tea not only prevents bad breath, but it can also help with other dental issues. The antimicrobial properties of green tea help relieve inflammation and bleeding while preventing odor-causing bacteria from growing. Green tea is cheap, easy to prepare, and can be used daily for bad breath.

10. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps control bacteria in the mouth while balancing the pH of the saliva. It has been shown to destroy and prevent dental plaque and bacteria. Since most bad breath is linked to oral bacteria, rinsing with ACV also helps freshen breath while preventing cavities.

11. Milk

Researchers found that drinking milk while eating a meal with a lot of garlic can help prevent that dreaded garlic breath. While whole milk is more effective, even skim milk can be beneficial. And, if you don’t want to drink milk while eating, you can still get some of the benefits after your meal.

12. Yogurt

Yogurt is full of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus. These healthy bacteria can help balance the good and bad bacteria throughout your body. A 6-week study found that 80% of participants eating high-yogurt diets had less bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis. This suggests that supporting the good bacteria in the mouth can help fight and prevent bad breath in the long term.

What causes bad breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, affects 50–65% of the world’s population. Up to 75% of children can experience oral odor as well. Oral, systemic, or psychological conditions can cause halitosis. Sometimes, a foul taste can accompany bad breath. The best way to treat bad breath is first to identify the cause. While most bad breath comes from the bacteria in the mouth, about 10% can be related to the respiratory system, digestion, medications, or diet.

Here are some of the most common habits and conditions that cause bad breath:

  • Using tobacco products, like smoking, using dip, or chewing betel nuts
  • Eating foods with garlic, onions, or other strong spices
  • Drinking coffee or alcohol
  • Tonsil stones
  • Poor dental care or periodontal disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic disorders

How bad breath can impact your life

No one likes bad breath. While embarrassing, bad breath can have other social and emotional impacts. Bad breath is the 3rd most common reason people contact the dentist. Often, people who suffer from bad breath tend to experience depression, social anxiety, low self-esteem, and self-isolation. This causes a severe decline in mental health that affects both personal and social relationships. Knowing there is hope is essential if you are struggling with it.

When bad breath persists

Bad breath can be hard to deal with, especially when it doesn’t go away. Most bad breath is related to oral bacteria. These natural remedies can help reduce the bacteria in your mouth and freshen your breath. But if bad breath persists, it can be a sign of a more serious condition like:

  • Gum disease or cavities
  • Respiratory infection
  • Some liver or kidney diseases
  • Diabetes

So, don’t wait if bad breath lingers. Consult your doctor or dentist to address the root cause of the issue. Taking proactive steps to manage bad breath not only enhances your oral health but can also contribute to a boost in confidence and overall well-being.

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