Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Bad Breath

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Someone sent me a message the other day saying her doctor had told her to stop chewing gum and sucking on mints, which was causing her gas pains. (I looked it up and according to the Mayo Clinic, both can and do cause gas for some people because you’re swallowing air…sipping through straws can cause this problem too). Anyway, she asked if I knew of any “natural” ways she could combat garlic and onion breath since these are two of her favorite ingredients. (I’m chewing on fresh parsley as I write!)

So I did some research, tried out as many ideas as I could/wanted to, and found some that worked for me. My stomach’s a bit upset at this point from chewing on raw garlic and onions before trying each “remedy” and drinking my usual afternoon pot of coffee! Maybe I’ll next research how to naturally soothe a stomach after consuming mass amounts of caffeine, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, etc.!

A couple of ways to check your own breath, which is what I did instead of finding people I could breathe on, is to cup your hands, take a deep breath and blow into them. If you can smell a foul odor, you have bad breath. You can also use dental floss to floss your teeth and then smell the floss. Again, if the floss smells bad, do does your breath.

  • GREEN TEA - Green tea is rich in polyphenol, which is a powerful antioxidant that can stop plaque from sticking to your teeth. Polyphenols have been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria in your mouth. So sipping green tea may help dull garlic stench. Spinach, black tea, apples and mushrooms are also rich with polyphenols so eat or sip on one of these items after a bad-breath causing meal. I personally really dislike tea, so I skipped this one while testing.

  • FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES – Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can help combat bad breath (and make you feel full too, which can aid in weight loss). Fiber-rich foods help produce saliva, which can help wash away built-up plaque. Fiber-rich produce includes celery, apples and carrots. Natural enzymes in apples, berries, pineapple and kiwis break down sulfur compounds and can also help with bad breath. I tried apples, carrots and celery and noticed the carrots and celery worked so-so, while the apples worked great. Veggies rich in vitamin C, like red bell peppers and broccoli can help create an inhospitable environment for mouth bacteria, which works best when eaten raw. These foods will also help loosen trapped food particles from your teeth.

  • MILK – Sipping milk can effectively reduce bad breath IF you drink it before or during a meal (according to a Journal of Food Science 2010 study). The fat in milk neutralizes sulfur while the water in milk acts as a mouth rinse. Whole milk is more effective than skim since it contains more fat. I can’t drink milk without eating cookies so this was another experiment I didn’t try. Drinking milk AFTER a spicy meal won’t help bad breath.

  • VODKA – Alcohol can kill mouth bacteria, which can help remove bad breath. Since vodka has no lingering aftertaste, this is the alcohol of choice to have a shot of after eating garlic or onions. Another test I didn’t do because I just don’t do shots of vodka!

  • BREAD – A lack of carbs in your diet can contribute to bad breath. Eating a slice of bread with your meal may help keep your breath smelling better. I did try this, after eating a slice of raw onion and while it did seem to help the odor a bit, I still had the taste of raw onion on my tongue. Unless I was planning on eating bread anyway, I would probably skip this and save the calories for something else.

  • FRESH HERBS – Before mouthwash was created, people would chew on herbs to fight bad breath. Fresh herbs contain chlorophyll, which absorbs odors. Some particularly good fresh herbs to try are parsley, mint, dill, basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and cilantro. If your meal comes with a fresh sprig of parsley, or other herb, chew it for instantly fresher breath. If you swallow the fresh herbs after chewing them, they will help continue to fight bad breath. I’ve been doing this for years and I think it works great! We have tons of mints and parsley growing so those are my two “go-to” favorites.

  • MUSTARD – Ok, this one was really difficult to try but I did. There were two different methods I found containing mustard. The first natural remedy using mustard is to put a teaspoon of mustard in your mouth, swish for a minute and then spit it out. Then you take another half teaspoon of mustard and swallow it. (When you swallow it, it goes down to the stomach which is supposed to kill the smells of garlic and onions throughout the body.) The first time I tried this, I gagged! I love mustard and it didn’t actually taste bad, it was just the thought of a big blob of mustard in my mouth that made me queasy. But it did help get rid of the garlic smell I had after eating some raw garlic. I did have mustard breath though. The second method, which I didn’t try is to mix 2 teaspoons of mustard oil with kitchen salt. Leave in your mouth and swish it around. Spit out any saliva that collects in your mouth while leaving the oil and salt in your mouth for 30 minutes.

  • YOGURT – Six ounces of yogurt can help reduce odor-causing hydrogen sulfide and cut back on mouth bacteria. I didn’t notice an immediate difference after eating yogurt but if you do this every day, it can help overall bad breath.

  • SEEDS & COFFEE BEANS – Chewing on whole cloves, or cardamom, fennel, or anise seeds can help immediately fight bad breath. I personally tried some whole allspice, whole cloves and anise seeds. While the cloves and allspice worked, the anise worked really well and it tastes like black licorice. If you have problems eating certain foods because of your teeth though, be careful with these items. Chewing roasted coffee beans actually works quite well too.

  • LEMONS – Sucking on a lemon wedge or chewing on a bit of peel worked for me too. But lemon juice is acidic and can be bad for your teeth.

  • APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – I loved this! Not only did gargling with 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water, help my breath, it got rid of that onion-y taste on my tongue. And mixed with the water, it actually made my mouth feel quite pleasant. *I’m actually working on a post for later this week on apple cider vinegar and alternative uses for it.

  • BAKING SODA – Making a mouthwash of baking soda and water is a long-time natural way lots of people have fought bad breath. At this point though, the thought of putting anything else in my mouth, swishing, gargling or chewing, is just not something I can stomach right now so needless to say, I didn’t try this.

  • WATER – While drinking water right after eating garlic or onions may not immediately get rid of the odor, drinking lots of water on a regular basis can help your breath stay fresher overall. Water helps flush away bits of food bacteria feed upon and promotes the production of saliva, which acts as a constant cleansing agent.

Of course brushing your teeth, mouthwash, flossing and tongue cleaning will help keep your breath smelling fresh and is good oral hygiene.

Bad breath triggers besides foods like garlic and onions can include dry mouth, smoking, gum disease, medications and diseases. If you notice a constant bad odor coming from your mouth, you might want to check with your dentist or doctor for any underlying problems.

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