About 50 percent of adults suffer from ongoing lousy breath at some point in their lives.
Bad breath is not only embarrassing, but it can sometimes also be a sign of a serious health problem — although, in most cases, it’s not.
I will share with you my top tips on how to get rid of bad breath fast — including dietary changes, supplements, and essential oils that can all be used to freshen your breath naturally.
Chronic bad breath — also known as halitosis — is something that absolutely nobody wants to deal with, and often is a sensitive topic.
If you want to know how to get rid of bad breath, first, it’s essential to understand the actual underlying causes of this condition.
Typically, bad breath is caused by bacteria buildup within your mouth.
While certain foods like garlic or onions may sometimes give you temporary bad breath, these are not usually the cause of chronic bad breath.
Having bad breath regularly is actually due to factors like yeast and candida overgrowth in your body.
Once you rule out any underlying problems that may be causing your bad breath, you have a few options to consider for ridding yourself (and your loved ones) of this all too common problem.
Read on to learn more about how to get rid of bad breath.
What Is Bad Breath?
Bad breath is a way of describing unpleasant-smelling odors coming from the mouth, also known as halitosis, if it’s a chronic condition.
At one time or another, just about everyone suffers from at least a few cases of bad breath.
Sometimes the cause is something you’ve eaten; other times, it comes from the bacteria found in your mouth.
Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are the major contributing factor to oral malodor (another term for bad breath),
which can arise from the breakdown of food, dental plaque, oral disease, and other factors.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
A common misconception about bad breath is that it originates in the gut or stomach.
This is a myth. Generally speaking, bad breath comes from the back of the tongue, throat, tonsils, teeth, and gums.
This is where naturally occurring bacteria are found that can give off sulfur-containing compounds, resulting in bad breath.
In the case of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gums and teeth),
bad breath is collective because bacteria proliferate below the surface of the gums where they cause inflammation and release sulfur compounds.
Food particles stuck in the mouth can also cause foul-smelling odors.
Temporary bad breath is usually caused by bacteria and smelly compounds found in a particular food that resolves within 24 hours after the meal is fully digested.
You might also wake up with evil “morning breath” because bacteria have become dry overnight, and this makes them respond with increased activity.
I was wondering how to get rid of bad breath in the morning? Simple: brush your teeth!
If eating certain foods is the main culprit of your bad breath, this is an easy fix, too.
Foods to avoid that can trigger bad breath include:
- Onions and garlic — These are the most problematic foods for lousy breath; while both are very healthy, if you’re heading to an event and want to avoid the bad breath, avoid or use them in moderation.
- Fried foods or other high-trans-fat foods — These foods take a long time to move through the digestive system, therefore producing halitosis.
- Sugar — Sugar leads to tooth decay and gum disease, contributing to halitosis.
- Sticky foods — Avoid caramels or other types of “sticky” food that can stick to teeth and cause decay.
- Sweetened beverages — Sugary drinks coat your teeth with sugar, and many of us don’t think to brush after we consume them.
Chronic bad breath, however, is more of a symptom of an underlying problem. Causes of persistent bad breath can include: (6)
- Accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, such as due to poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
- Gum disease/periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
- Chronic dry mouth (stagnation of saliva)
- Trapped food particles in the mouth
- Older age
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Poorly fitting dental appliances
- Yeast infections of the mouth
- Untreated dental caries (cavities)
- Sometimes more severe medical conditions, such as liver disease or diabetes.
Will Mouthwash Get Rid of Bad Breath?
No matter what is causing your bad breath (ruling out any serious health issue),
I recommend you work on solving the root problem, rather than masking the issue with products like chewing gum or mouthwash.
First and foremost, make sure to brush your teeth with a natural toothpaste twice daily, and to floss ideally every morning and night.
Tongue scraping can also help remove bacteria from your mouth.
One of the most common ways people try to tackle bad breath is by using mouthwash or chewing gum.
However, most mouthwashes and gums contain alcohol, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and many other ingredients that the consumers should approach with caution.
In some mouthwashes, there’s as much as 27 percent alcohol — more than an entire six-pack of beer!
This can cause burning sensations in the mouth and feel uncomfortable, especially if you have any open cuts in your gums, cold sores, etc. Another problem with mouthwash is that alcohol-based products only dry out your mouth and create an anaerobic, bacteria-friendly environment which further promotes terrible breath.
According to the American Dental Association,” Cosmetic mouthwashes can temporarily mask bad breath and provide a pleasing flavor, but do not affect bacteria or volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs).”
The ethanol (alcohol) contained in mouthwash has also been reported to be associated with increased oral cancer risk in some cases.
University of California Berkley Wellness newsletter states that “Some researchers are concerned that long-term use of products with alcohol may increase the risk of oral cancer, but the ADA says alcohol rinses are safe …
Still, you have a history of oral cancer or risk factors for it, such as smoking, the ADA says it may be prudent to avoid such rinses.”
Additionally, acetaldehyde — a by-product of mouthwash — is considered a “probable human carcinogen (Group B2)” based on human cancer studies and has been shown to irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.”
If you’re able to find a mouthwash without these ingredients, they’ll often contain artificial colors and flavors you simply don’t want in your body.
These types of bad-breath treatments simply mask your problem, as is so familiar with many Western “treatments.”
The real goal should be to address the root cause and get rid of bad breath permanently.
6 Natural Remedies for How to Get Rid of Bad Breath, Fast
If a persistent case of bad breath plagues you, then try any one or more of these solutions to discover a mouth of freshness.
1. Skip Sugars and Grains
One of the first things to address is yeast and candida overgrowth, which can contribute to not only bad breath but many other symptoms, too.
You do that by following a diet that’s lower in sugar and higher in probiotic-rich foods.
So if you’re consuming too many processed sugars, grains, white bread, white rice, and even whole wheat products, this may be a significant contributor to the problem.
Sugars and grains promote the action and growth of many bacteria.
Eliminating or reducing your intake of sugar, sugar-laden products, and grains will help to eliminate bad breath.
Of course, this move can also help you to maintain or lose weight and improve your overall health, too.
I recommend that you temporarily try going completely grain-free and eliminating all sugar from your diet. Replace sugar and processed grains with foods, including:
- High-protein foods
- High-fiber foods
- Healthy fats (see below)
- Probiotic-rich foods — some of the best probiotic-rich foods you can add in are things like 24 to 29-hour fermented homemade probiotic yogurt, buying goat milk kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and coconut kefir. Load up on the probiotic-rich foods to help restore healthy bacteria in your mouth.
- Fermented vegetables — treating candida with fermented vegetables, which are full of probiotics, allows that good bacteria to help overcome the yeast and candida in your body.
- Alkalizing foods — herbs, citrus fruits, and vegetables. These provide vitamins A and C, antioxidants that are necessary for healthy teeth and gums.
- Parsley and mint — these decorative green leafy herbs are natural breath fresheners.
- Water — drink at least eight glasses of water to flush toxins.
- Green tea — may also help to reduce bad breath thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. (10)
2. Consume More Healthy Fats
Make sure you’re consuming enough healthy fats — such as from oils like organic, virgin coconut oil, or olive oil.
Nuts, seeds, avocado, eggs, aged cheeses, fish, and meat can also provide healthy fats, helping you to “crowd out” sugar and refined grains.
And yes, the truth about saturated fat is that it can be beneficial, so eat a variety of fat-containing foods for optimal gut and digestive health.
Coconut oil contains specific types of fatty acids called medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid.
These are antimicrobial and supportive of both dental and gut health.
However, if you have a liver or gall bladder condition, check with your doctor first before consuming more saturated fats such as coconut oil, since high-fat meals may too hard for you to digest properly.
3. Add Supplements and Essential Oils
The next thing to do is to add certain foods and supplements to your routine to help get rid of bad breath. The first is a probiotic supplement.
The second thing you can do is use peppermint essential oil. Studies have found that peppermint oil used as an oral rinse can help reduce halitosis.
Peppermint oil mouth rinse is considered a safe formulation without any side effect that is useful in combatting bacteria that cause bad breath.
It’s best to brush your teeth and floss twice daily to keep your mouth clean and prevent food particles from lingering in your teeth and gyms.
I make my Homemade Probiotic Toothpaste with a mixture of baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint oil. Just a single drop of peppermint oil on your tongue or in your water can help freshen up your breath.
4. Eat Parsley
An aromatic herb that can help in improving your breath is parsley. Parsley isn’t just a pretty garnish; it can be used to treat bad breath effectively.
Part of the reason parsley benefits your breath is that it’s so alkaline.
If you are making vegetable juice at home, try using ingredients like parsley, mint, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Also, drinking cucumber and celery juice may help to improve your breath.
One study found that the alkalizing combination of raw apple, parsley, spinach, and mint worked well as a natural treatment for bad breath because it has the potential to increase enzyme activity and naturally oxidize and deodorize harmful bacteria.
Parsley and many other green plant foods are rich in chlorophyll that helps to neutralize bad breath and acts as a deodorizer.
Of course, fresh mint is another herb that helps freshen your breath.
If chewing on a sprig of parsley doesn’t do the trick, then consider dipping it in vinegar first.
However, if you like the way mouthwash works but don’t want the associated health risks, try this all-natural remedy for bad breath:
Simply boil parsley sprigs, mint and cloves, cool and strain, then use this all-natural mouthwash daily.
Drinking green tea with fresh herbs is another excellent solution for helping to combat bad breath.
5. Suck on a Lemon
Lemon and water can also play essential roles in getting rid of bad breath.
Lemon juice has been shown to have phytochemical, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities that can help kill bacteria and fungus, plus reduce inflammation in the mouth.
You can suck on a lemon slice or squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water, and get all the benefits of lemon water.
This technique is particularly useful when it comes to combating bad breath from onions, garlic, and the like.
Suck on a lemon slice or squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water. Then simply drink the water or gargle with it.
If you’re unable to do either of these, simply place a drop of lemon juice on the tip of the tongue.
Lemon will stimulate saliva production, which will help to combat bad breath. Having a dry mouth is commonly associated with bad breath, which brings us to the next solution …
6. Drink Lots of Water
A dry mouth can cause bad breath because it’s a breeding ground for bacteria that produce smelly compounds and by-products.
Drinking at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day is one of the best ways to keep these bacteria’s actions to a minimum.
Often people who have jobs that require a lot of talking (like salespeople, teachers, lawyers, etc.) find that they have bad breath as a result of dry mouth. Luckily there’s a simple fix: drink up to combat bad breath.
How to Address Underlying Health Conditions That Cause Bad Breath
- How to stop bad breath from the mouth — Follow the tips above, which help to balance bacteria in the mouth.
- Also, quit smoking, avoid using tobacco products, and get regular dental cleanings.
- Make sure to treat cavities, cracks in your teeth, and shoddy dental work from your past — such as poorly fitting dental fillings or dental crowns that can harbor smelly bacteria.
- How to get rid of bad breath from the throat — Treat acid reflux/heartburn/GERD by adjusting your diet and lifestyle. Also, consider if a cold or sore throat may be giving you bad breath temporarily. If dietary changes don’t seem to help, always discuss other options with your dentist.
- How to cure bad breath coming from the stomach — If you often burp, feel gassy or feel like you can “taste” bad breath coming from your digestive system. Then this may mean you need to tackle a problem occurring in your stomach. (15) Treat digestive issues, including acid reflux/heartburn/GERD, food allergies, and conditions like candida or SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). You may need to try an elimination diet, low carb/sugar diet, or a low FODMAP diet. A sign that these GI issues may be causing bad breath is if you’re also experiencing foul odors due to gas and bloating.
- How to get rid of bad breath from gingivitis — Brush and floss regularly, make the dietary changes described above and periodically visit your dentist for professional cleanings and examinations. It’s also essential to not smoke or use tobacco products, which will make the disease worse.
- How to get rid of bad breath from periodontal disease — Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once per day. Also, try cleaning your tongue. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Often practicing good oral hygiene alone cannot get rid of this problem, but there are a variety of treatment options that can help, some of which are invasive and some of which aren’t. Your dentist can recommend treatments to help get rid of bad breath, such as tongue scraping (called debridement) or deep gum cleaning techniques called “scaling and root planing that removes stubborn plaque and tartar.
- Bad breath, also called halitosis, is a common condition caused by an underlying problem, such as poor oral hygiene, poor diet, gum disease, tooth decay, or other more serious medical conditions such as liver disease or diabetes.
- Bad breath usually starts in the back of the tongue, throat, and tonsils. This is where naturally occurring bacteria are found that put off sulfur compounds resulting in bad breath.
- Foods that can help get rid of bad breath include high-fiber grains, water, parsley, citrus fruits, fresh vegetables, and foods high in probiotics.
- Six steps to get rid of bad breath include: skipping sugars and grains, eating more healthy fats, trying supplements and essential oils, eating parsley, sucking on a lemon, and drinking lots of water.