Why is it that even though you worn your best dress and applied the right makeup, your boyfriend seems ready to scramble to the exit? Well, chances are, that the pieces of garlic grilled chicken that you had at lunch are still stuck in your mouth, resulting in the bad breath or halitosis. Bad breath is not just related to bad dental hygiene, and it does not really matter if you brush your teeth every day and pop breath mints every few minutes. Although, it does arise from the foods we eat such as onion, garlic, or liver, there are other causes of bad breath such as certain medical conditions or even the side effect of a medication.
In fact, there are two types of bad breath: transient or temporary bad breath and chronic bad breath. While the transient halitosis is temporary, lasting as long as its causative factor does, chronic bad breath is caused by gum disease or bacteria. In case of a chronic bad breath, you need to consult a dentist and get a physical examination done. However, transient bad breath caused due to recently eaten foods, bad dental hygiene, or bodily imbalances such as depression and stress can be easily treated with some simple home remedies.
Remedies for Bad Breath
Maintaining Oral Hygiene: The leftover food in the mouth is broken down by the bacteria, thus emitting a foul odor. To limit this growth of bacteria and treating bad breath, you need to brush your teeth and floss daily. Also, do not forget to scrape the tongue using a tongue cleaner (The U-shaped cleaner resembles a medieval torture weapon) to relieve the millions of filaments on the tongue off the trapped tiny food particles and bacteria.
Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking plenty of water helps promote salivation and washes away the bacteria. This also helps relieve bad breath caused due to dry mouth or xerostomia. Being well hydrated also thins the mucus secretions in your nose passage, which can harbor bad-smelling bacteria.
Chewing Sugarless Gum: One of the best weapons to cure bad breath is saliva, as it helps wash away the bacteria and food particles as well as eliminate the foul smell. Chewing sugarless gum helps you salivate more. This not only mechanically washes bacteria out, but the antiseptic and enzymes in the saliva help kill the bacteria as well.
Using Natural Oils: You can place a few drops of tea tree or peppermint oil on the tongue or use it along with the toothpaste to get rid of the bad odor. The antibacterial properties of these natural oils kills the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Avoiding Certain Foods: Cut down on the foods, such as onions, garlic, cabbages, and certain spices, which aid bad breath. Avoid drinking too much coffee or alcohol which results in the foul odor.
Gargle Using a Mouthwash: Use any commercial mouthwash or rinse your mouth with salt water to fight off the bad breath. Rinsing and gargling for thirty seconds with a mouthwash is enough to flush away the bacteria from your mouth. You can also use a diluted hydrogen peroxide rinse that can kill the bacteria. Remember not to swallow when using hydrogen peroxide.
Chewing Parsley/Mint: Chewing a sprig of parsley, mint, or fennel seeds can help mask the bad odor. It is also observed that chewing apples, carrots, and celery can help loosen the debris stuck in the mouth.
In addition to this, there are a host of commercially marketed breath freshening kits that may help prevent bad breath. However, most of these just mask the bad smell rather than kill the bacteria. If these preventive measures fail to work, then consult a dentist to check whether the cause of the bad breath is due to a temporary reason or the result of some underlying medical conditions.