The Best Natural Remedies for Bad Breath

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD


Having bad breath can be extremely embarrassing, mostly because you often don’t know about it until someone else tells you. Though you probably won’t appreciate being told that you have this problem, it’s better to know because then you can do something about it. There are a number of things you can try that can help with bad breath, and not all of them include harsh chemicals or a trip to the dentist.

Why Natural Remedies?

A woman with bad breathYou can buy remedies for bad breath but these aren’t usually as effective as natural remedies. Mouthwashes are usually full of chemicals that are bad for your mouth and teeth. Also, because your mouth is really porous, those chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream even if you don’t swallow them. These chemicals do kill the bad bacteria that cause odor, but they also kill the good bacteria, which can cause more problems in the long run.

Even if mouthwashes solve the odor problem in the short term, they usually don’t last as long as some of the more natural options. Natural remedies are safer, taste better, and are easier to find and carry around with you so you can use them wherever and whenever you need them.

Causes of Bad Breath

If you discover that you have bad breath, there are a number of remedies that you can try that might help. Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, and discovering the cause can help you find a remedy that works for your specific condition. Some of the most common causes of bad breath are as follows:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration
  • Certain medications
  • Oral infections
  • Smoking or Alcohol use

If you try natural remedies and nothing helps, you need to enlist your doctor’s assistance. Bad breath can be a sign of a number of diseases that won’t go away on their own without medical intervention. And if you do discover an underlying illness, seeking treatment will probably clear up your bad breath at the same time. The following illnesses and diseases can cause bad breath:

  • Infections of the mouth, gums or throat
  • Sinus infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Reflux
  • Lung infections
  • Liver Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The Importance of Your Dental Health

Bad breath is most often caused by poor dental health which may lead to infections or diseases of the gums or mouth. Dental infections can spread to other parts of the body, causing secondary infections, or depress your immune system so you can’t fight off bacteria or viruses very well. And even when they don’t cause obvious illnesses or diseases, dental infections increase stress the body is already under and diminish your overall sense of health and wellbeing.

Poor dental health has been linked to heart disease, inflammation, and cancer, as well as to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). So if you’re suffering from AFS, you can lessen the stress on your body and improve your overall wellbeing by improving your oral health and eliminating this cause of bad breath.

What is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?

AFS is a stress-related illness that seems to be becoming more common in the modern world. It occurs after a period of prolonged stress when the adrenal glands have been overused and become fatigued. Your adrenal glands are part of your neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response, which means that they act to make changes in your body to help you handle stress. When they become fatigued, your body can’t handle stress as well and starts exhibiting a range of symptoms from general tiredness to anxiety, weight gain and an increased susceptibility to infections.

The Link between Your Dental Health and AFS

A man taking care of his dental health to avoid bad breathDental infections create more stress for your adrenal glands. The increase of bacteria in the mouth causes more inflammation and immune response in the body. In addition, the body’s toxic load can overwhelm the adrenals and create mental and physical exacerbation of AFS. Removing the stress that poor oral health puts on your body is fairly simple, and it’s an easy way to reduce the load on your adrenal glands while addressing your bad breath at the same time.

Keep your Mouth Clean

The first thing you should do if you have bad breath is to make sure you keep your mouth as clean as possible. Bad breath is often caused by pieces of food and bacteria built on and around your teeth and gums. This is an easy fix. You need to make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, including your tongue and your gums as well. You can also use a toothpaste that contains tea tree oil, which is a safe and natural disinfectant. Make sure you floss after brushing to remove food particles from between your teeth. Doing this removes the source of the problem, rather than attempting to cover up the bad smell with other smells, which is far more effective and may actually remove the problem altogether.

You should also use a tongue scraper when you brush your teeth. Your tongue is extremely porous and tiny food particles can easily become lodged in the pores. These particles can grow bacteria, which causes infection and bad breath. If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and looked in the mirror to see that your tongue is covered with a white film, then you probably aren’t cleaning your tongue properly. Use a tongue scraper to remove any debris or food particles from the surface of your tongue and make sure you spit out the results.

Change Your Diet

A bad diet is one of the primary causes of bad breath. There are a number of foods that can cause this problem including the obvious ones, such as garlic and onions, as well as less obvious causes such as coffee or alcohol. Refined sugars, such as those in cakes and desserts, can also feed the bacteria in your mouth, so it should also be avoided as much as possible if you have bad breath. There is also anecdotal evidence that dairy products or a diet that’s rich in meat products may cause bad breath, though there is little sound scientific evidence to support this.

A diet that’s rich in raw, natural foods can help to remove food particles from your mouth and also improve your overall health, which will naturally improve your health and any symptoms of AFS. Raw fruits and vegetables that are particularly good for improving your breath are:

A woman eating celery to help with bad breath

  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Broccoli

Probiotics

If you have bad breath, it might be because of a bacterial imbalance in your mouth. Bacteria is an essential part of the human body and without it, you wouldn’t live very long. It only causes problems when one type of bacteria starts to grow out of control and causes infection and disease. There are a number of causes of bacterial imbalance such as illness, injury, antibiotics and other medications.
Probiotics can be found in a number of foods such as yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut. They’re full of healthy bacteria and can help to balance your system and promote good digestive health. Probiotics can help you address your bad breath while also assisting with the digestive distress that often comes along with AFS.

Avoid Dry Mouth

If your mouth is dry for a prolonged period it can cause bad breath. Dry mouth can be the result of dehydration, smoking, certain medications, too much alcohol, sleeping with your mouth open and allergies. Try the following ideas if you think dry mouth is causing your bad breath problem:

  • Increase your water intake.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your saliva
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking.
  • Don’t skip meals, as this can also make your mouth dry.

Quick Fixes for Bad Breath

If you’re going about your daily routine and realize that you have bad breath there are a number of remedies that you can try including the following:

    A woman eating orange to remedy bad breath

  • Eat an orange, the citrus stimulates saliva and gives your breath a fresh blast.
  • Try eating some parsley, which has germ fighting properties.
  • Drink some water, swish it around your mouth and spit it out again.
  • Scrape your tongue with a metal spoon and spit out the residue.
  • Chew a clove or cinnamon stick, they both have antibacterial properties.

Final Thoughts

Bad breath can be a stubborn and embarrassing condition to have. It can make you feel self-conscious, and because you don’t usually know when you have it, it can be difficult to manage. Bad breath can also be a symptom of deeper problems, such as AFS or inflammation, so you need to make sure you address both the problem and the possible causes before they do long-term harm. Using natural remedies to deal with the condition are more effective as they usually last longer and are free from chemicals and preservatives that could damage your health.

 
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Poor oral hygiene is a key cause of bad breath and it creates stress for the body. That’s why you should always try to improve your oral hygiene first when you have bad breath. This means improving your oral health routine, eating a healthy natural diet, and visiting your dentist.


Bad breath