How do I treat bad breath naturally?

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
You can treat bad breath naturally by simply chewing on some parsley. In this video, I will explain how parsley can neutralize the odor that is caused by bacteria that live on your teeth and tongue.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Sage contains essential oils with antibacterial properties that eliminate the causes of bad breath. Most mints and other breath fresheners just mask the smell instead of eliminating the issue. Sage will treat the cause and is especially beneficial if you have gingivitis.
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Todd A. Welch, DMD
1. Herbs such as Parsley, Mint, Tarragon, and Basil. Usually, parsley is included as a garnish on dishes at many restaurants.  There are plenty of other herbs that can work as well.  Dr. Christine Gerbstadt a national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association recommends using coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom.  Basically, you should aim to find any herb with a strong pleasant smell that can mask your bad breath.  Experiment a bit and find the one that works the best for you.

2. Green Tea. In a recent study trying to find foods that reduce bad breath, the researchers concluded that  "green tea was very effective in reducing oral malodor temporarily because of its disinfectant and deodorant activities." 

3. Lemons can reduce bad breath.  They have such a strong, pleasant odor that they are able to mask your bad breath.  Lemons are easy to come across in restaurants -- you can simply order a water with a lemon wedge.

4. Sugar Free Mints and Candy will be able to mask bad breath by increasing your saliva production.  That extra saliva running through your mouth will be able to remove bad breath-causing substances from your teeth.

5. Crisp Fruits and Vegetables such as apples, celery, and carrots are great at stimulating the flow of your saliva also.  This will help wash away offending substances that cling to your teeth.  Also, the rough, fibrous texture of fruits and vegetables can also have a cleaning action on your teeth.

6. Yogurt can act to prevent bad breath.  It won't work immediately, but if you eat a single-serving cup of plain yogurt without any sugar added every day, you will be able to reduce the levels of hydrogen sulfide in your mouth.

7. Berries, Melons, and Citrus Fruits that are rich in vitamin C will be able to scare away much of the bacteria in your mouth that are a source of your bad breath by creating an environment in which the bacteria do not want to live. 

8. Anise, Cardamom, Coriander, Mint Sprigs, and Fennel Seeds are all very potent, spicy, pleasant smelling, natural ways to cover up your bad breath.

9. Cinnamon Sticks contain an essential oil that is actually able to kill a certain type of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath. 

10. Hazelnuts if they are slowly chewed and eaten can help alleviate bad breath.
Peggy Rosen
To treat bad breath naturally; you need to remove the sources of bad breath from your system. The sources of bad breath are:
  1. Cavities. Fermented food in the cavities create foul odor.
    Remedy: have the cavities filled. Floss after each meal.
  2. Low stomach acid; food didn't get digest properly.
    Test for low stomach acid from your physician.
  3. Constipation causes bad breath
    Remedy: eat more high fiber foods. avoid milk, sugar, all white flour snack or food, vegetable oils, margarine and canola oils, instead use coconut oil, and eat millet, whole wheat.
  4. Improper blood sugar; the body is high in blood sugar.
    Remedy:  Avoid all vegetable oils (replace with coconut oil), fried foods, soft drinks, starchy foods from white flour and sweet snacks. Consult your doctor to control the sugar level.
  5. Stop eating late at night. The digestive system doesn't work well during late evening. The undigested food will ferment and cause bad breath.
  6. An imbalance of bacteria in the mouth
    Remedy: a natural tree resin called mastic gum has been shown to help rebalance a healthy mouth environment by reducing acidity and promoting microbial homeostasis.
  7. Gum disease (periodontal disease, gingivitis), the most common cause.
    Remedy:  Have your teeth cleaned at the dental office every six months. Have you gum treated if you have periodontal disease.
  8. Abscess teeth; abscess tooth is a collection of infected material (pus)
    Remedy: Have root canal treatment or have the tooth extracted.
  9. Impacted wisdom teeth; food trap underneath the gum tissue
    Remedy: have the wisdom tooth removed.
  10. Stop smoking
  11. Stop eating food that left odor in your mouth such as garlic and other spices.
  12. Consult with your physician if you have: lung infection, sinusitis and throat infection, bowel obstruction.
The best way to treat bad breath (halitosis) is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Bad breath is an unpleasant condition that can be cause for embarrassment. If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware there’s a problem. If you’re concerned about bad breath, see your dentist. He or she can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it.

Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss to clean between teeth.
The best natural remedy for treating bad breath is regular brushing of your teeth and tongue and flossing daily.

However, there are many other natural treatments that diabetics can try to beat bad breath:

Chewing some spices and herbs, such as cloves, anise seeds, or fennel, might help, creating your own mouth rinse that you can use after brushing could help, too. Try mixing extracts of myrrh gum, sage, and calendula in equal amounts in water and store it at room temperature in a sealed container or jar, eating parsley can also help because it is full of the breath deodorizer, chlorophyll.

Limit your intake of odorous foods like garlic, peppers, onions, and cheese, avoid beverages that can leave a smelly odor in your mouth, like coffee, any kind of alcoholic beverage, or soft drinks. These can leave a film of residue on your teeth, gums, and tongue. If you can't sacrifice these foods and drinks, simply try rinsing your mouth out with water after if you don't have your toothbrush with you. Although this won't completely get rid of all traces of what you just ate, it will help begin to restore your mouth to it's natural state.

Carry a toothbrush with you in your purse, car, gym bag, or in your medication bag that keeps your glucometer and insulin or other medications. You're probably carrying around your medication bag with you anyway. You can buy travel toothbrushes that fold if you need something more portable.

Gargling with over-the-counter mouthwashes can help mask bad breath. Some mouthwashes may even help prevent gum disease. Sugar free rinses are best for those with diabetes. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can dry out your mouth. 

If one treatment doesn't work, simply try another. If none of these options work, consult your dentist.

Continue Learning about Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

The easy cases of bad breath can be fixed by brushing and flossing. Drink lots of water. Use mouthwash and remember to brush your tongue too. But there are other things that can cause bad breath. Smoking is an obvious culprit. Foo...

ods like garlic and onions can cause bad breath long after you brush them out of your mouth. Dry mouth can cause bad breath, drinking plenty of water helps, as does chewing gum. Some illnesses and medicines may also cause bad breath, and plaque or tartar on teeth and gum disease may also contribute.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.