If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of bad breath once and for all, you’ve come to the right place! We’re sharing seven of the most common causes of bad breath, 11 natural bad breath remedies that actually work, and 7 store bought products we swear by.
What Causes Bad Breath?
If you suffer from chronic bad breath, it’s important to talk to your dentist and health care provider to rule out problems with your oral health and any other conditions that might be to blame. Dry mouth, sinus problems, and tonsil stones can all cause chronic bad breath, as can other, more serious medical conditions. While the chances you have bad breath due to a serious underlying condition is low, it’s always good to be proactive.
Here are some of the more common causes of bad breath:
- Poor oral hygiene. If you suffer from bad breath, one of the first things you should consider is your oral health routine. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing helps combat bad breath by removing food, plaque, and bacteria from your mouth. Remember to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria that accumulates between your taste buds and other crevices.
- Dehydration. Did you know that when the amount of saliva in your mouth decreases, it causes odor-causing bacteria to increase, leading to bad breath? This explains why we experience bad breath in the morning, but keep in mind that anything else that causes a decrease in saliva production – like consuming coffee, tea, or alcohol, and not drinking enough water – can also cause bad breath.
- Tobacco. Not only do tobacco products cause bad breath, but they can also damage your gum tissue, lead to gum disease, and cause other, more serious health conditions.
- Dietary choices. Certain foods contribute to bad breath, including garlic, onions, some spices, coffee, tea, alcohol, and foods high in sugar.
- Low carb, high protein diets. While low carb, high protein diets have gained popularity in recent years due to their effectiveness on weight loss and maintenance, few people realize this way of eating can contribute to bad breath. Low carb diets alter your body’s metabolism, which can cause bad breath, and if your body struggles to metabolize high protein foods, it causes the release of sulphurous gases, which also leads to bad breath. If this sounds like you, try increasing your vegetable intake to balance things out.
- Gastrointestinal issues. Constipation, bowel disorders, and acid reflux can all contribute to bad breath. If you suffer from one of these conditions, focus on getting your symptoms under control, and your bad breath will (hopefully) improve.
- Medications. Many prescription medications cause dry mouth, and since a decrease in saliva causes an increase in odor-causing bacteria to form in the mouth, this leads to bad breath. If you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your doctor to see if there are alternate medications you can try, or other treatment options you can consider to increase the production of saliva in your mouth.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath Naturally
- Practice good dental hygiene. If you want to know how to get rid of bad breath, the first thing you need to do is to get into the habit of flossing and brushing in the morning and evening, being careful to brush your tongue and rinse your mouth to remove food, plaque, and bacteria. If the idea of flossing on the daily sounds too time-consuming, consider trying floss picks. They significantly cut down flossing time and can get in between tight teeth quite easily. I swear by them!
- Rinse with salt water. You’ve probably heard of using a salt water rinse to treat a sore throat, but you can use it on the daily to prevent the build up of bacteria in your mouth. It also helps to keep your mouth and throat hydrated, which can stimulate saliva production and reduce bad breath. To make your own salt water rinse, simply add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water water, swish around your mouth, gargle, and spit.
- Hydrate. As mentioned previously, a dry mouth creates odor-causing bacteria, which leads to bad breath. If you want to know how to get rid of bad breath, be sure to consume an adequate amount of H2O to keep your mouth and throat hydrated and smelling fresh!
- Cut back on diuretics. Reduce or remove coffee, tea, and alcohol from your diet as they are dehydrating and decrease saliva production, which leads to bad breath. If you must drink these items, be sure to compensate with adequate water.
- Eat oranges. Vitamin C increases our saliva production, so if you suffer from dry mouth, try eating oranges to see if it helps. You can also chew a piece of orange rind to freshen your breath and help stimulate your salivary glands.
- Try probiotic yogurt. Yogurt is a great source of good-for-you bacteria. Probiotic yogurt helps support our immune health, helps decrease inflammation, improves our digestion, increases our energy levels, and since it reduces the level of bad bacteria in our mouths, it can ward off bad breath as well. When buying yogurt (soy or regular) look for the words ‘live and active cultures’ to ensure a high probiotic content.
- Sip green tea. If you want to know how to get rid of bad breath when you’re on the go, grab a green tea from your local coffee shop. The disinfectant and deodorizing properties of green tea can help freshen bad breath temporarily, making it a great beverage to consume during business meetings and social gatherings.
- Enjoy a glass of milk. If you’ve eaten something with a lot of garlic and/or onions, drinking a glass of milk during and/or after your meal can help reduce the smell.
- Eat an apple a day! Similar to milk, apples can help neutralize the lingering smell of garlic and/or onion on your breath, and they’re a great, healthy snack you can enjoy on the daily. Add a little nut butter to make it a more rounded snack!
- Munch on herbs. The chlorophyll in parsley, basil, mint, and cilantro can help neutralize foul odors in your mouth, leaving a fresher smell and taste. Buy your favorite herbs fresh, rinse, and chew as needed.
- Don’t breath through your mouth! My final tip for those who want to know how to get rid of bad breath naturally is to stop breathing through your mouth as much as possible. Not only can mouth breathing dry out your oral cavities and cause bad breath, but it can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
7 Store Bought Products to Help Bad Breath
- Alcohol-free mouthwash. We all know that mouthwash can help freshen our breath, but alcohol-based products can actually dry your mouth and perpetuate the problem in the long-run. If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of bad breath when you’re in a rush, invest in an alcohol-free mouthwash to help freshen your mouth while keeping it moisturized and free from bacteria.
- Mouth moisturizers. If you suffer from bad breath due to chronic dry mouth, Biotene mouth rinse and Biotene mouth lozenges help keep things moisturized while also freshening your breath.
- Oral irrigator. If you find flossing challenging, have sensitive teeth and gums, need additional help keeping dental implants, crowns, and bridges clean, or suffer from tonsil stones, an oral irrigator is a great tool to invest in as it helps remove food particles and plaque from hard to reach areas.
- Saline nasal spray. If you have chronic bad breath as a result of sinus problems and/or post nasal drip, talk to your doctor about using a saline nasal spray. It’s a great product you can use on the daily to keep your nasal passages moisturized while also treating post nasal drip.
- Tongue scraper. Yes, I’m serious. If you want to know how to get rid of bad breath, a tongue scraper may be the answer to your prayers! Scrape from back to front 5-10 times after brushing your teeth to remove bacteria from your tongue.
- Digestive enzymes. If you suffer from bad breath due to digestive problems, including constipation, bowel disorders, or acid reflux, talk to your doctor about digestive enzymes. They can help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort and improve your breath as an added bonus.
- Sugarless gum or candy. My final tip for those who want to know how to get rid of bad breath while on the go is to chew or suck sugarless gum or candy. This can mask the smell of your breath in the short term while also adding moisture to your mouth to (hopefully) keep things neutralized until you can brush and floss your teeth.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of bad breath once and for all, I hope the tips and ideas in this post prove useful to you! Remember to check with your doctor to rule out any underlying oral and/or medical concerns, to practice good oral hygiene, to stay hydrated, and to avoid foods and beverages known to cause bad breath as much as possible.