Bad Breath, or Halitosis as it is called medically, is a medical condition characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth. It could be a one-time occurrence, or a continuous and often serious condition. Statistics have it that bad breath affects an estimated 25% of people globally, so it should be taken seriously by those it is affecting, and those it’s not affecting as well.
The primary cause of bad breath is the bacteria that build up on the back of the tongue and in-between the teeth. This occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. When food is taken in through the mouth and swallowed, some food particles remain in the mouth between the teeth, under the gums and around the tongue. If these particles are allowed to stay there for long, they promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth. It is these bacteria that cause bad breath, in most cases.
Bad breath could also be as a result of other health problems in the body, like gum disease and infections of the mouth. Some medications could cause the mouth to go dry, rationing saliva which helps to moisten the mouth and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the gums, tongue and cheeks.
Bad breath could be very embarrassing and tends to lower the self confidence of its victims around people. If you’re suffering from bad breath and that visit to the dentist’s looks impossible or a bit stressful, try out these natural remedies at home to wipe out those odor-manufacturing bacteria in your mouth.
1. Drink Water
Dry mouth is a haven for the bacteria that cause bad breath. Drinking a large quantity of water at intervals throughout the day will help to keep your mouth hydrated, and make it hard for odor-causing bacteria to stay in the mouth. Water temporarily dislodges bacteria, and freshens up the breath.
Bad breath is common when your mouth is dry, so when there is a shortage of saliva in your mouth, add artificial saliva by drinking generous amounts of water.
Dryness of mouth can be caused by many things, like medications, breathing through the mouth, and smoking. So try to stop these habits, and carry water around with you so you can drink when your breath starts getting heavy.
2. Blush and Floss regularly
The importance of brushing your teeth daily cannot be overemphasized, and it should be done hand in hand with flossing. If you fail to brush and floss daily, food particles will linger in your mouth and cause bad breath. The teeth should be brushed twice daily, and flossing should be done at least once a day. Flossing after each meal is most effective in cutting down on the amount of plaque and odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Flossing also helps to stop periodontal disease, which is another cause of bad breath. Also, try to brush the top and surroundings, and especially the down side of your tongue thoroughly while brushing the teeth.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
Certain foods when eaten regularly, help to curb intestinal upset and decimate the population of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. These foods include whole grains (like brown rice), dark green and orange vegetables, fruits and proteins (fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc). You could make yourself a fruit drink or combination of fruit drinks and carry it with you throughout the day.
Certain foods like raw onion and garlic should be avoided, because they cause bad breath. Acidic foods like vinegar and sugary foods should be avoided also. Try to cut down on your sugar intake, because sugars and acids increase production of bacteria and bad breath.
Eating foods that contain good bacteria also helps to fight bad breath, because it changes the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria in your mouth, and if taken for prolonged periods, reduces the number of bad bacteria. Foods in this category include Yogurts.
4. Chew Sugar-free Gum
Chewing on gum for a long period will help your mouth make more saliva, which helps to wash away the bacteria in the mouth and keep it fresh.
However, do not chew gum with sugar, because it will only give the bacteria in your mouth extra sugars to burn, and make your bad breath situation worse. If you want sweet gum or mints, choose the ones sweetened with Xylitol which helps to fight the growth of bad bacteria.