Worried about bad breath? Tired of using mouth washes and breath mints that just mask the problem instead of curing it? Concerned about the impact of chemicals from commercial products on the environment? Is halitosis ruining your confidence? Curing bad breath has been a hygienic priority for centuries. But what causes it?
The first step to curing bad breath is to find out what is causing it. In the majority of cases, bad breath is caused simply by something in the mouth such as plaque or decayed food caught between teeth. What you eat is also a prime reason for bad breath. Everyone knows foods such as garlic and onions can leave an unpleasant odor in the mouth. Use of alcohol or tobacco likewise can leave a lingering odor in the mouth.
Chronic bad breath can be a symptom of a more serious problem such as a dental issue. Conditions like broken or cracked teeth, gum disease, canker sores, cavities. yeast infections in the mouth and sores on the tongue can cause longer lasting or recurring episodes of bad breath.
Occasionally, bad breath that just will not go away can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition such as a sinus infection, or an infection of the throat, mouth or respiratory area. Diseases such as diabetes are known to leave an unusual chemical smell in the mouth. Liver and kidney conditions an also cause bad breath.
Historically cures have ranged from chewing on guava peels to rinsing with children’s urine. Modern science has debunked a lot of these “cures” but here are a few that the scientific community has given a thumbs up to, most can be made from ingredients you probably already have on hand in your kitchen.
1. Salt Water Rinse – Gargling with salt water helps to cleanse the mouth of bacteria. Its antibiotic qualities sterilize the mouth and removes the bacteria from plague build up.
2. Drink more fluids – Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth increases the odors emanating from the mouth that cause bad breath. Drinking lots of water also helps keep the body hydrated and helps with digestive juices which can release acid adding to bad breath. Other fluids recommended to drink are black and green teas. Some preliminary studies have shown that teas contain compounds that prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth and help to eliminate existing bacteria from producing odors which cause bad breath.
3. Chew on fresh herbs – Studies show chewing on fresh herbs for at least a minute helps reduce and eliminate mouth odor longer than breath mints and commercial mouth washes which often contain alcohol. Some recommended herbs include a small sprig of rosemary, parsley or spearmint.
4. Change your eating habits – No doubt about it, the foods you eat play a significant role in creating bad odors in the mouth. Clean your mouth thoroughly after eating foods with repugnant odors like garlic and onions. Include fresh, crunchy foods for snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth and teeth.
5. Create a good, basic mouth care routine – having a standard health care routine for your mouth helps to eliminate bad odors left in the mouth. Keeping the mouth fresh and moist helps avoid dry mouth and also reduces dental problems like cavities and gum disease. A basic oral hygine routine should include at minimum, brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day and seeing a dental professional regularly. themayoclinic.com has an excellent overview of all the specifics for establishing a well rounded oral health care routine that suits you.
A lot of people try to cure bad breath by using commercial mouth washes. The drawback to these can be that many of them contain alcohol and often are short lived and only cover the odor instead of eliminating it. Studies show that natural mouth washes last longer and are more effective with elimination and prevention of bad breath.
Home made mouth wash recipes:
1.Mint mouth wash: A very basic mouth wash recipe with three basic ingredients that can be altered to suit your own taste. 1 cup distilled water, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 3 to 4 drops of a flavored essential oil such as peppermint, spearmint or wintergreen. Dilute the baking soda by stirring it into the water, then add the essential oil and stir. Swish well and spit out, repeat as necessary. This basic wash will store in an air tight container for about a week.
2. Easy instant mouth rinse: This very simple recipe contains two basic ingredients, 1 cup distilled water and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon. Mix well directly before use, Swish thoroughly and spit out, repeat as desired.
3. Tutti Frutti Mouthwash: This designer style mouth wash recipe comes from Hubpages.com. Ingredients include: 3/4 cup distilled water, 6 drops of lemon essential oil, 10 drops bergamont essential oil, 1 tsp. aloe vera oil, and (optional) 1/4 cup vodka. Mix well, swish around in mouth well and spit. Hubpages has additional designer recipies to suit individual tastes.