12 Tips to Combat Bad Breath

Halitosis is almost always caused by poor dental hygiene. Discover, then, 12 tips to combat bad breath. Keep reading!
12 Tips to Combat Bad Breath

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 18 April, 2023

Halitosis, in addition to being unpleasant, can be treacherous. Some suffer from this bad smell and don’t know it until someone else tells them. The causes of halitosis are multiple, including poor oral hygiene, food, dehydration, smoking, or intestinal reflux. Fortunately, there are tips to combat bad breath.

According to an investigation, a little more than 50% of the population has halitosis or bad oral odor and 90% of them have it due to an oral origin. The other percentage is due to acid reflux, kidney failure, or complications of diabetes.

Tips to combat bad breath

Yes, having a bad smell in your mouth is embarrassing. The good news is that there are numerous ways to treat and prevent this common condition. With homemade natural remedies, some habits and tips you can have a healthy mouth and fight bad breath.

1. Good oral hygiene

The same study already cited suggests that carelessness in oral hygiene is one of the main causes of bad breath. This is because food remains lodged between the teeth, in the crevices of the tongue, and in the gums, forming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Therefore, the key to good oral hygiene is to prevent plaque buildup: Brush your teeth correctly for two minutes, at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste and dental floss.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget about brushing the tongue, as bacteria that cause bad breath accumulate in it. At least once a day, clean this area using a specialized brush or tongue scraper, although the American Dental Association states that there aren’t enough studies to prove that this device works to prevent bad breath.

How to do it? As far as the tongue is concerned, brush from top to bottom and then from side to side. Be careful, as a rough action can hurt the skin.

Woman brushes her teeth for bad breath.
Oral hygiene is key to avoiding halitosis.

2. Raw apple

Raw apples have the potential to combat bad breath caused by garlic, as revealed by a study published in the Journal of Food Science.

Some components of the apple neutralize the smell of garlic, so a bowl of chopped raw apple could help get rid of the smell after a tasty meal.

3. Parsley

Parsley could have the potential to combat bad breath, thanks to the fact that it’s rich in chlorophyll and has a fresh aroma. Although studies in humans are still lacking, it’s believed that it may be effective in neutralizing odors such as sulfur.

Chewing on a fresh parsley leaf after each meal can have good results for pleasant breath throughout the day.

4. Green tea

An analysis suggests that green tea is efficient in neutralizing bad breath. This is due to its disinfectant and deodorizing properties that protect the mouth for a while. Drinking green tea during the day helps to have an ideal and refreshing breath.

Both green tea and spearmint tea could be good remedies to avoid the worry of halitosis.

5. Pineapple Juice

Although there’s not enough research to confirm that pineapple or pineapple juice has the potential to treat bad breath, many people claim that it is effective in neutralizing halitosis. Chewing a slice of organic pineapple for a few minutes, drinking it in the form of a juice, or rinsing the mouth with the fruit’s liquid after eating may help.

6. Zinc

Zinc can be found as an ingredient in some chewing gums and mouthwashes. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, mouthwashes containing zinc as an ingredient can provide around 6 months of protection against bad breath in the long term.

Zinc can not only be found in mouthwash, but also in dietary supplements or chewing gum made with the mineral.

7. Water

Being dehydrated helps bad breath become worse. Both saliva and water help cleanse the mouth of plaque. A study published in the International Dental Journal specifies that a dry mouth is prone to bad odor.

Pay attention if you feel dry mouth when you sleep, as it may be a symptom that you didn’t drink enough water during the day and it’s very likely that when you get up, you have halitosis. Sugar-free and caffeine-free water helps stimulate saliva production.

8. Milk

Research published in the Journal of Food Science suggests that milk can combat the odor produced by garlic. After eating, a glass of milk could improve the breath caused by this food. It’s also a good idea to drink whole or low-fat milk during or after eating dishes with ingredients such as onion.

9. Orange

Vitamin C promotes saliva production and helps combat halitosis, according to a study. For people who don’t salivate enough, this fruit helps eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath.

There are several nutrients in oranges and it’s a good idea to consume them as a dessert or in juice at any time of the day. Therefore, the benefits go beyond oral health itself.

10. Yogurt

According to a study, 80% of volunteers noticed an improvement in their breath after consuming yogurt for six weeks. Yogurt contains bacteria called Lactobacillus, which are probiotics. It’s best to consume a small fat-free portion daily to counteract halitosis.

11. Fennel Seeds

Fennel and anise seed have a sweet flavor and aromatic oils that freshen your breath. Traditionally, they’ve been used as nighttime mouth fresheners to eliminate bad breath. They can be eaten plain, toasted, or sprinkled with sugar.

12. Mouthwash with baking soda or vinegar

Due to the nature of mouth bacteria, few of them thrive in acidic places, so a homemade vinegar rinse can significantly reduce odor.

How can you make vinegar mouthwash? In a cup of water, add two tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar. Then gargle for 20 to 30 seconds with each sip.

On the other hand, studies confirm that baking soda is efficient in eliminating some bacteria found in the mouth. The baking soda mouthwash has the same procedure as the vinegar mouthwash, only you’ll add two tablespoons of baking soda instead of vinegar.

A wife detects halitosis in her sleeping husband.
Bad breath is usually detected by another person and not by the person who suffers from it.

How do I know if I have bad breath?

Trusting our senses isn’t entirely reliable. As far as smell is concerned, when the person gets used to a smell, it becomes familiar or common to the individual and therefore tends to fade over time.

The sense of taste could give us better clues. Having a bad taste in your mouth is a sign that you could suffer from halitosis. Although licking the inside of your wrist and sniffing it right away might help pick up the foul odor, keep in mind that this method isn’t entirely reliable.

So, how do you know? The best way is to have a trusted person smell your breath. On the other hand, a dentist can provide you with a halitosis test; you just have to go to the specialist to ask them to apply one of the available methods, such as the halimeter test or the organoleptic method.

General tips to combat bad breath

Most of the time, halitosis is caused by poor dental hygiene. A good practice is to brush your teeth and tongue properly after eating. Remember to floss at least once a day.

Chewing mint or zinc gum can help freshen your breath if you can’t brush. Vitamin C helps produce saliva if you have dry mouth. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, as tobacco makes your breath smell terrible.

A deep cleaning with the dentist on a regular basis is the best action for the care of your teeth and to prevent bad breath. It’s best to go at least twice a year, thus avoiding the accumulation of undesirable bacteria in your mouth.

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