Regular dentist visits and proper oral hygiene are critical for a healthy mouth. But there are other things you can do to help fight off bad breath and halitosis. Home remedies for bad breath can make a big difference to your oral hygiene over time, when used in conjunction with your daily dental care and visits. So adopt these simple but effective habits to treat bad breath.
Drinking enough water is one of the simplest steps you can take to curb bad breath. When your mouth doesn't have enough moisture to produce saliva, odor-causing bacteria can develop. Side effects from certain medications, medical conditions and diseases can deprive you of that necessary moisture, but not getting enough water can also contribute to dry mouth in otherwise healthy people.
Staying hydrated is important, particularly before and after heavy exercise, when rapid breath can increase dry mouth. While it's a healthy practice in and of itself, be sure to drink water when you first wake up. Dry mouth can occur while you're asleep, so hydrating first thing in the morning gives you a jump on a night's worth of collected bacteria.
Daily tooth brushing along with flossing are the most important actions you can take to ward off bad breath. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), if you neglect to brush and floss daily, food particles can linger in your mouth, causing bad breath. So, it's recommended to brush two times a day for at least two minutes.
Today, flossing has become an integral part of daily oral care and the American Dental Association recommends you floss once daily at least. Correct flossing after each meal consistently cuts down on plaque, bacteria and odor-causing food particles. Flossing helps stop periodontal disease as well, another cause of bad breath.
Cleaning your tongue can effectively decrease halitosis-causing compounds. These compounds form on your tongue and in your mouth when bacteria and amino acids combine, emitting an unpleasant sulfur-like smell. So cleaning your tongue regularly is important in fighting halitosis. Some products can remove up to 96 percent more odor causing bacteria to eliminate bad breath.
It's common knowledge that certain foods like raw onion or garlic cause bad breath. Such foods, when ingested and excreted by the lungs, cause halitosis. But avoiding acidic foods (like vinegar) or high-fructose foods (like sugary cereal) cuts down on bad breath too. Both acids and sugars increase production of bacteria and bad breath.
Instead, choose a diet that curbs intestinal upset and odor-causing bacteria. According to Aetna, you should moderate your sugar intake and choose foods that increase saliva flow, including:
Whole grains like brown rice
Dark green and orange vegetables
A variety of fruits and
Proteins such as fish, beans, nuts or seeds.
Use a mouthrinse after every meal to help reduce plaque and gingivitis and freshen breath. Mouthrinse alone is not an effective remedy but should be used in addition to regular brushing and flossing.
Home treatments passed down over the years are a good complement to your daily dental care. Herbs such as fennel, for example, have long been used in some cultures as a breath sweetener. Fennel increases saliva production, and contains numerous antibacterial properties, and a few sprigs will do the trick after or between meals.
Fresh breath is a sign of a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth is often a good indication of your overall health. These home remedies for bad breath are habits you can take up in your own home, and they're integral to fighting and preventing the underlying causes of bad breath.