There’s nothing more embarrassing than being told you have an unpleasant breath. But, don’t worry, because it’s never impossible to improve your breath and get rid of the awful odor. The truth is that the problem of bad breath, or halitosis, has plagued humankind for hundreds of years. During ancient times, people would use home remedies such as rinsing rosemary leaves, juniper seeds, cinnamon, myrrh, and even white wine. Of course, today, we would simply swish a capful of mouthwash to get rid of the evidence of what we just had for breakfast. It’s safe to say that our ways are more convenient and perhaps even more effective, but compared to what people used in the past, our solution usually involves alcohol and flavoring, something that our ancestors wouldn’t consider natural. The good news is that what worked hundreds of years ago could still work today! Before we move on to that portion, though, let’s check out first what bad breath really is and what causes it in people.
What Is Bad Breath And Why Do Some People Have It And Others Don’t?
Poor Dental Hygiene
Some people get bad breath not because they don’t brush their teeth, but because they don’t take their dental hygiene seriously. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day (three times a day is better), or after every meal. Failing to clean your mouth after eating will cause food residue to become a breeding ground for bacteria, causing you to develop cavities and have bad breath. In the long run, it may even lead to other unpleasant mouth-related problems, such as gum disease. Keep in mind, too, that brushing is usually not enough, so always follow it up with flossing.
Poor Food Choices
We’re not saying that eating food with lots of onions and garlic is bad, but if you love eating pungent dishes, you could really expect to develop bad breath. What’s worse is you can’t easily wash the smell off with a mouthwash and you would usually have to wait until the food have passed through your system before the smell goes away as well.
Stubborn bad breath is usually a sign of gum disease. If you have bad breath that doesn’t go away, check with your dentist to know whether or not you have periodontal disease.
A problem with your sinuses may also lead to chronic bad breath. The reason is that there’s a connection between bad breath and postnasal drip usually caused by sinus problems. What usually happens is that excess mucus from your sinuses slides down your throat and mixes with bacteria that reside there, leading to strong odors coming out of your mouth.
It’s obvious, but there’s really no way around to it. If you smoke a lot, you will definitely have a lot of bad breath, too. The awful smell does not only come from the smoke produced itself, but also from stain formed by nicotine in your teeth, as well as from gums already damaged through years of smoking.
How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath
The Sniff Test
One of the quickest ways to know if your breath smells is by doing the sniff test. You can do this by licking your wrist, letting it dry for a minute, and then taking a whiff. Another way to do this is by flossing between your teeth and then smelling the floss.
The Hand-Cupping Method
This is a very popular effective method, although not really effective. However, it’s also a quick way to test your breath. To do this, you simply need to cup your hand on your mouth, breath into it, and then smell your hand.
This method is a very effective one. Take a cotton swab or a spoon, or even your own finger, and gently rub it on the back of your tongue. The further you reach, the better. Whatever the smell of the object after you pull it out is what your breath also smells like.
Beat Bad Breath Naturally With These Techniques!
Bad breath is not an enemy you can’t defeat. While you can simply rinse with capful after capful of mouthwash, there are ways you can get rid of bad breath naturally.
Treat Your Sinus Problems
We’ve mentioned earlier that one of the main causes of chronic bad breath is postnasal drip due to sinus infection. If you have discovered that it is indeed a sinus infection that’s causing your breath to smell, deal with your sinus problem first and your bad breath problem will be solved. Fortunately, we’ve already written a piece here giving advice on how to treat sinus infection using home remedies.
Drink Lots of Water
One of the causes of bad breath is dry mouth. Whether you have a case of chronic dry mouth or not, it’s important to keep your mouth hydrated in order to get rid of bad breath. Dry mouth is a result of the decomposition of dead cells inside your mouth, which usually results to an unpleasant odor. By keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll not only get rid of loose food particles inside your mouth, but also help increase production of saliva, your body’s defense against bacteria in the mouth.
Strengthen Your Digestive System
Another common cause of bad breath is poor gut health. In some cases, your breath smells awful as a result of the toxins that have built up in your digestive tract. To strengthen your digestive system, you might want to take probiotics. In a journal by the Current Opinion in Gastroenterology in 2011, it was reported that taking probiotic supplements could help eliminate odor-causing microbes in the mouth, as well as get rid of VSCs or volatile sulfur compounds usually responsible for bad breath.
Choose Your Food Wisely
Whether you like it or not, the food you eat regularly plays a huge role on how your breath smells. Aside from simply reducing intake of spicy food and pungent dishes, you would also want to include more raw foods into your diet. This means eating more apples, celery, and carrots. These three in particular, are considered nature’s toothbrushes.
Apple is high in fiber and encourages saliva production.
Meanwhile, celery and raw carrots are high in moisture content and helps keep your mouth wet.
In addition, you might also want to chew on cinnamon sticks sometimes. They help release essential oil into your mouth that is extremely effective in killing bacteria.
Berries are also a good choice. They are high in antioxidant and can keep at bay all the nasties that usually cause unpleasant breath.
Clean Your Tongue
Your tongue, particularly the far back area, is an easy breeding ground for bacteria. Perhaps you’re already brushing your tongue regularly as part of your dental hygiene, but there’s a more natural way to cleanse it. You can either use an apple cider vinegar rinse or a cloves and parsley rinse. Both methods will naturally disinfect your tongue and mouth and hinder the grown of many bad breath-causing bacteria. For the apple cider vinegar rinse, all you need are 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar added to a cup of water. For the second rinse, you will need 3 cloves mixed with a stem of parsley and half a cup of water.
Consider A Colon Cleanse
It’s not a widely known idea, but a dirty colon is one of the common causes of bad breath, especially the chronic cases. There’s a direct path between your mouth and your colon, so when your colon is toxic, you can expect your breath to smell toxic, too. And after all, there are only two major exits where odor from your colon may pass, and one of them is your mouth. So, if this is the case with you, you might want to consider a colon cleanse, especially if you’ve tried all other methods to no avail. Regular bowel movement might be able to help, but it’s often not enough. Keep in mind, though, that a colon cleanse may have side effects, so be sure to talk to your doctor before trying this method.
Bad breath can be very embarrassing, much more seeking help for it. However, a breath that smells may be a symptom of an underlying cause, and sometimes not even related to your oral health. If you’ve done all you can and your breath still smells, it’s best to listen to what your body is telling you and seem professional help as soon as possible.