8 natural ways to freshen your breath (and we’re not just talking Listerine®)
Chronic bad breath has several possible causes, but the occasional rank odor from the mouth is usually due to something the person recently ate or a temporary overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. Beyond good hygiene and the occasional salt water rinse, there are several natural ways to combat either problem.
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it ideal for fighting bad breath because it helps to kill germs and soothe any inflammation that may be brewing in the gums. Bonus: Turmeric also aids digestion, treats depression, and helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. WellnessMama recommends a turmeric tea made of hot coconut milk mixed with a teaspoon each of turmeric and cinnamon, and a tablespoon of honey.
Once again, baking soda comes to the rescue of an everyday problem. Thank Your Bodyrecommends dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water for an effective, odor-killing rinse. Add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil for an boost added of freshness.
Sipping pineapple juice after a spicy meal will help counteract any strong odors. Pineapples contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain, reports Remedies and Herbs, that acts as a natural cleanser.
Apples — or any other crunchy, natural food — acts a natural toothbrush, helping to scrub away anything coated on your teeth that may be sitting there causing odor issues. Cosmopolitan.com recommends apples, carrots or celery for this method of combating bad breath caused by food in the mouth.
Simply staying properly hydrated can do wonders for bad breath. A dry mouth is lacking antibacterial saliva, promoting the growth of bad-smelling bacteria — drying out overnight is the cause of “morning breath.” If you don’t like drinking plain water, WebMD suggests adding lemon or raspberries and mint for a fresh taste.
Both cinnamon and cloves have an antiseptic quality that help to kill the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Reader’s Digest Best Health advises sucking on a cinnamon stick or cracking a clove between the teeth to release their helpful properties.
There’s a reason restaurants put a sprig of parsley on your plate — it’s intended to combat bad breath due to food odor. The chlorophyll in parsley, spinach, and other leafy greens will freshen breath when chewed — and will help prevent other body odors, according to Body Mint.
Nature’s best-known bad breath cure is, of course, mint. Fresh mint leaves freshen breath immediately, and the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that peppermint has been shown to aid digestion and relieve congestion.
If you’ve tried these basic natural remedies and are still peeling the paint off the walls with your breath, it’s time to visit a doctor. Certain underlying medical conditions can cause bad breath, as can some medications. A doctor can help pinpoint the cause of persist bad breath, and sometimes cure it.