Bad breath is no fun. Not for you, not for your partner, not for anyone. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and using a mouthwash sometimes aren't enough to keep bad breath at bay.
The other day I was catching a flight interstate with my bestie for Easter. We were chat, chat, chatting away but I noticed she kept pulling away from me. Finally, just before we were about to land (two hours later) she told me I had halitosis...wtf...I was mortified to say the least. Lucky for me she's a naturopathic practitioner so I was able to work out the cause of my bad breath quick smart.
My diet's super clean, organic, I rarely eat out or drink alcohol. I take kefir as soon as I wake up, eat up my sauerkraut and take my probiotics daily.
I had recently suffered from a severe dose of bronchitis that I just couldn't shift. I had to revert to a course of dreaded antibiotics. I understand that allopathy has it's place and this is one of those cases where antibiotics are necessary. They do however, wreak havoc on your microbiome and disrupt the intestinal flora. A common side effect of taking antibiotics is halitosis stemming from the gut, leading to bad breath.
Whilst the first place to turn may be chewy and mouthwash to alleviate the symptoms, most supermarket brands contain some nasty synthetic chemicals like poloxamer 407, synthetic fragrance, sweeteners like saccharin which are known carcinogens, and all sorts of dodgy colourings like CI42053 - Fast Green FCF, which is a known skin, eye and respiratory irritant.
The main ingredient of mouthwashes is alcohol. Long-term use changes the pH of the mouth and throat, and has been linked to mouth and throat cancers.
So without a mouthwash you’re left with brushing and flossing, which on their own can add years to your life, but may not cut it against the dreaded bad breath caused by halitosis.
WHAT CAUSES BAD BREATH?
Bad breath is caused by sulphur-producing bacteria living in the mouth, in the throat and on the tongue. This bacteria builds up over time, causing bad breath.
Common causes of bad breath are food (garlic anyone?), skipping breakfast, smoking, pharmaceutical medications, tooth infections, sinus infections, dehydration, zinc deficiency and gastrointestinal disorders.
If you brush your teeth morning and night and still have bad breath but don’t want to use mouthwash, there are some excellent natural remedies you can use.
10 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR BAD BREATH
Water – After you eat, swish some water around your mouth to clear away any food stuck on your teeth to stop the growth of bacteria. It’s also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day as a preventative measure, as dehydration is one of the major causes of bad breath. Aim for 2 litres minimum.
Salt Water Gargle — Regular salt water gargles can really help keep bad breath at bay, because the salt helps get rid of bacteria from your throat and tonsils. Make sure you use a good quality Himalayan rock salt or a pure lake salt.
Fresh Herbs — Chew on some parsley, mint, cardamom seeds, sage leaves or a piece of clove after every meal. The chlorophyll in parsley and mint helps control bad breath, plus they both have a wonderfully fresh flavour. Sage leaves contain essential oils with antibacterial properties. Cloves and cardamom are Ayurvedic remedies for bad breath, both being antiseptic and antibacterial.
Cinnamon Mouthwash — This is another age-old Ayurvedic remedy for bad breath. Add three heaped teaspoons of cinnamon powder to one large cup of hot water. Mix it well and use it as a mouthwash.
Baking Soda — Brush your teeth with baking soda and it'll help reduce the acidity in your mouth, preventing bacteria from growing. You can also gargle with baking soda to kill bacteria on your tongue and in your throat to eliminate bad breath.
Apple Cider Vinegar — The highly acidic nature of apple cider vinegar makes it a wonderful natural remedy for bad breath, and one that actually tastes quite pleasant when diluted in a glass of water. Drink it before and after meals to help digestion as well as bad breath.
Lemon Mouthwash — A good health habit to get into is to drink a litre of water with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it every morning. Its high acid content helps prevent bad breath and it also alkalises your entire system and aids digestion, which can sometimes be the cause of bad breath.
Do a Detox — Bad breath is sometimes caused by a buildup of toxins in your body, so consider doing a detox every few months. Take probiotics after your cleanse to ensure you replace all your good gut bacteria.
Tongue Scraping — It actually feels really good to give your tongue a good scraping and get rid of all that gunk, which causes bad breath. You can buy scrapers especially for this delightful purpose or a spoon can suffice. Brush or scrape your tongue gently and thoroughly, remembering that the hardest to reach parts at the back of the tongue smell the worst. This will leave you with fresh breath.
Minty Moments — Your local health food store will have some yummy organic and natural mints and gums that don’t contain any nasties, like anise flavoured mints with all-natural anise extract. If you really don’t feel you can live without mouthwash, there are also alcohol-free and saccharin-free mouthwashes available at health food stores to help treat your bad breath.