Although we all have the tendency to be embarrassed by our bad breath, it is a condition that, literally, everyone has experienced it at some point in their life. Bad breath, or Halitosis as it is medically labeled, is triggered by the release of gases from microscopic bacteria living in your mouth, on your tongue and around your gums. Although saliva is supposed to cleanse the mouth, many people often suffer from dry mouth and therefore cannot properly clear it of these tiny bacteria. There is also the problem of stinky (but delicious) foods like garlic, onions and coffee. Bad breath has a bad rap but there are plenty of easy ways to naturally treat it, some of them dating back millennia.
Both green and black tea leaves contain an antioxidant compound known as polyphenol. This compound just so happens to kill nasty bacteria, more generally, it makes your mouth an inhospitable place for new bacterial growth. Although drinking tea works wonders (always without any added sugar or milk), chewing the rehydrated leaves after drinking your cup of tea can exponentially help to reduce any sign of bad breath.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Long known for many other health benefits, apple cider vinegar can be used to balance out an imbalanced pH, thus also reducing a common root cause of stinky breath. We should also reassure you, that you don’t need to take shots of vinegar, or swish it around in your mouth. Instead, a much more pleasant experience is to use unfiltered apple cider vinegar, mixing one tablespoon with a glass of water. This makes a much smoother concoction to get down, and also lets your digestive tract to benefit from all the other important compounds within unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Tea Tree Oil
Antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal, tea tree oil can really help to brighten up your mouth. It is already a common ingredient within many natural toothpastes, but can be easily added to whatever brand you already use by adding a tiny amount to your toothbrush before use.
Want better breath? Increase your daily chlorophyll consumption! Greenery has long been known to target the bad microflora living in your mouth, especially when it comes to bright refreshing flavors like parsley. If chewing a few leaves after a meal doesn’t appeal to you, try juicing it ahead of time and swishing around a small shot glass full. Don’t forget to swallow, as parsley is chock full of essential nutrients that would be a shame to simply spit out.
Another benefit to drinking lemon water in the morning (there are dozens!), is that lemon water is a great way to target bad breath. Its acidity is able to cut through the bacteria and make your mouth an inhospitable place for smelly breath. Plus, if you add a bit of salt water to the mix, and use it as a mouthwash, it makes the oral environment even less pleasant for bad breath causing bacteria.
Cinnamon and Cardamom
Why use a store-bought mouthwash when you can easily make your own at home using all natural ingredients? Place a cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and a few bay leaves in a pot of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and let cool. Drink this concoction throughout the day to target the smelly microflora currently residing in your mouth. Cinnamon powder has been used historically as a flavorant in tooth products, but it also has some benefit for oral health beyond improving breath. In one study, cinnamon extract was shown to improve bad breath, tooth decay, and cavities more than any other plant extract.
If cinnamon and cardamom are on the list, it only makes sense that cloves would be too. Cloves go beyond just offering surprisingly fresh breath however, as they have long been known to have medicinal qualities. As cloves are not really chewable in their natural state, they can always be steeped in tea for a refreshing drink. Alternately, you can make an all-natural DIY mouthwash through combining peppermint essential oil, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pot of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes, allow to cool. Easy to pour into a small spray bottle for a perfectly pocket sized, on-the-go mouth freshener.
If you need another herbal tea to add to the list, fenugreek is a great addition. Again, like other teas on this list, steep the fenugreek in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Drink throughout the day until your embarrassing breath disappears. Fenugreek has also been known to relieve mucus build up caused by catarrhal infections, which targets the back of your throat and nasal cavity. It’s actually a reaction by the immune system to an oral infection which causes a massive amount of mucus to be produced. Oral infections can trigger even worse breath, so treatment with fenugreek tea can target both the buildup of mucus and the bad breath.
Fennel seeds have been used for centuries to cure bad breath. Fennel has antimicrobial properties, which target the nasty creatures living in your mouth producing the noxious odors. Fennel seeds have a strong, powerful flavor, which is able to freshen your breath without using over-the-counter mouth washes or breath fresheners. In the morning, try chewing on a small teaspoon worth of seeds, which should slowly release their bright flavor and destroy any lingering night time bad breath. If chewing on dried fennel seeds isn’t for you, another option is to sip on fennel tea. This can be done at several points throughout the day, perhaps after every meal, using 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds steeped in one cup of boiling water.
Baking soda is a great ingredient to have in your refrigerator, as it acts as a natural deodorizer. Following this same train of thought, it is often a primary ingredient to many natural toothpastes. It zaps out bad breath causing bacteria, and neutralizes the acidic nature of the mouth for a healthier and more stable microfloral environment.