Sometimes you can taste it — after a particularly pungent meal or when you wake up in the morning. Other times, the people around you can smell it, backing away slightly when you talk. Simply brushing your teeth can sometimes make your breath presentable again. But for some people, eliminating bad breath can be tricky.
Halitosis, the technical name for bad breath, is the third most common cause of dental visits. Bad breath is embarrassing, but it is often easily treatable. While bad breath can sometimes be attributed to gum disease or even liver disease, many times the cause is simpler and can be treated with natural and easily accessible remedies.
1. Clean Your Tongue
You likely already brush your teeth twice a day, but do you clean your tongue? When your tongue isn’t directly cleaned, a coating can build up. Often, it’s this coating that leads to bad breath. In the lab, tongue cleaning paired with tooth brushing was better at treating halitosis than brushing alone. You can simply use your toothbrush to clean off your tongue, making it part of your twice daily routine, or you can buy a tongue scraper designed specifically for the job. Many toothbrushes even have a tongue scraper on the other side of the bristles!
2. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is both easy to find and possibly effective as a natural treatment for bad breath. It’s believed that the antioxidants within the tea combat the sulfur compounds that cause halitosis. Some research indicates the antioxidants can even protect against cavities. One study found that green tea was more effective at fighting bad breath than either mints or gum.
3. Chew Gum
While you already associate chewing gum with fresh breath, the odor of the gum isn’t the only way it can fight halitosis. Dry mouth can increase the likelihood of bad breath, and gum helps stimulate saliva production. Researchhas indicated that the advertising from gum makers isn’t entirely hype — gum can make your breath smell better, both to those around you and yourself.
4. Take K12 Supplements
Bad breath is caused, in part, by the presence of stinky bacteria in the mouth. Get rid of the bacteria and you get rid of the problem. Much in the way that “good” bacteria are recommended to keep the digestive system in balance, K12 may be able to help balance bacteria in the mouth. Streptococcus salivarius K12 is a bacterium itself and has been shown to promote oral health andeliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath. It’s available in supplement form.
5. Practice Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an Indian folk remedy that’s been growing in popularity over the last several years. Traditionally, the process of swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes before spitting it out is said to have numerous oral and physical health benefits. One study found oil pulling to be just as effective as a prescription mouthwash in the treatment of bad breath. Sunflower and sesame oils are popular choices, and are both widely available.
Bad breath is embarrassing and can even hurt your social life. While dentists may be able to prescribe mouthwashes and other potentially costly treatments, the above options are easy to find and could eliminate your bad breath.