by Aurora Geib
Few things in life are as frustrating, uncomfortable and socially awkward as bad breath, also known as halitosis. If you suffer from this embarrassing problem, there’s no reason to run and hide, or attempt to disguise the odor with artificial, potentially toxic chemical products. Instead, consider these seven natural bad breath remedies which can help take your breath from foul to fresh.
1. Fish Oil Supplement
You’re probably already aware of fish oil’s many benefits for disease prevention. From cancer to cardiovascular disease, fish oil’s beneficial omega-3s are a valuable prevention tool. But did you know that fish oil can also help keep your breath smelling fresh? Omega-3s have been shown to reduce bacteria in the mouth as well as inflammation — both of which cause bad breath. In choosing fish for your next meal, you won’t just enjoy something healthy and delicious; you’ll also freshen up your breath. If fish isn’t regularly on the menu, fish oil supplements deliver breath-freshening benefits. (1)
2. Fresh Herbs
Oral hygiene products are loaded up with chemicals engineered to offer a minty fresh feel, but why not get it straight from the source? Chewing on a few mint leaves freshens breath naturally. Other herbs which offer revitalizing power include parsley, cardamom, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and fennel seeds. If you’re not in the mood to chew, these can also be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tonic. An added benefit to these herbs? They are also a digestive aid. (2)
3. Green Tea
As with omega-3s, green tea is a “superfood” which offers many health benefits. One little known advantage of your morning tea routine is fresher breath. Polyphenols, the antioxidants contained in tea, eliminate the compounds which cause bad breath. But that’s not all. Green tea also wards off other threats to oral health, including tooth decay and mouth cancer. Many advocates also recommend fenugreek tea for similar benefits. Whatever type of tea you choose, avoid adding sugar, as this can foster the growth of bacteria which eventually lead to halitosis. (3)
4. Natural Toothpaste
A quick glance at a side of a typical tube of toothpaste yields an eye-opening list, including aspartame, sorbitol, glycerin and others. These potentially harmful ingredients can compromise your health in a multitude of ways. Instead, seek out natural products designed to promote better health. Specifically, look for products that contain Himalayan salt, xylitol and essential oils — all of which have been proven to help clean and refresh the mouth without nasty side effects. (4)
Fiber-rich foods are your friend in general, and they bring a little known gift to the party: fresher breath. In particular, celery, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes and other crunchy fruits and vegetables help keep your mouth moist by producing excess saliva — your body’s natural weapon against bad breath. These foods also clean the mouth, scrape away plaque buildup and help naturally remove foods that are stuck between teeth and gums.
The overall well-being of the body is interconnected, and poor digestive health can lead to a number of chronic issues, including halitosis. Toxins build up in the digestive tract and manifest as bad breath. Eating probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kombucha and fermented sauerkraut, is a dietary defense which can help eliminate bad breath. Probiotic supplements are also an effective approach. Vitamin D, meanwhile, found in milk, yogurt and cheese, inhibits the growth of bacteria which cause bad breath. (5)
If you aren’t getting your recommended daily intake of water — and most people are not — you may suffer from bad breath. Saliva is your body’s natural way to eliminate bacteria; its natural enzymes help neutralize bacteria, along with bad odors. If you don’t drink enough water, your body is unable to produce sufficient saliva. Luckily, the solution is simple: drink more water and enjoy refreshed breath. (6)
While breath mints work by masking unpleasant odors, they are only a short-term solution. Not only that, but sugar-containing mints can contribute to plaque buildup, exacerbating the problem. Rather than attempting to cover up the odor, commit to eliminating it completely through these safe, affordable and effective natural remedies.