Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily can help to remove odor-causing bacteria, but maybe it’s not enough. Unfortunately scientific assistance for the claim that any home remedy can treat mouth odour is lacking. If you’re considering using any remedy or form of alternative medicine, consult your doctor and dentist first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
Here are some useful advice that will assist you reducing mouth odour:
1) Drink tea. Research suggests that compounds in both green tea and black tea called polyphenols can stop the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath. Polyphenols may also prevent existing bacteria from producing malodorous compounds such as hydrogen sulfide.
2) Try a mouthwash containing zinc ions. Zinc appears to directly neutralize malodorous sulfur compounds and improve breath. It’s found in several health food store mouthwashes as well as some drug store brands.
3) Try a mouthwash that contains essential oils. Preliminary studies suggest that essential oils, which are plant oils, may help to reduce bad breath. One study compared an essential oil mouthwash containing tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil to a standard mouthwash and found that the level of volatile sulfur compounds was significantly less after the essential oil mouthwash compared to the conventional mouthwash. It’s best to use a commercially-prepared product (check the health food store) rather than buying essential oils and making your own mouthwash. If in doubt, consult your dentist.
4) Use herbs to freshen your breath. Chew on a small sprig of fresh rosemary, parsley, spearmint, or tarragon for up to a minute.
5) Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Alcohol can dry out the mouth, which contributes to bad breath.
6) Use a tongue scraper, which helps to remove dead cells, food particles and bacteria from the tongue. A tongue scaper is a special plastic instrument found in drug stores and some health food stores, that costs several dollars. In Ayurveda, a thick coating on the tongue is called “ama” and is thought to be caused by improper or incomplete digestion. Tongue cleaning with a scaper is recommended as a daily regimen to remove ama. The key is to do it gently and to rinse your mouth thoroughly afterward. If you can’t find a tongue scraper, use a toothbrush to clean your tongue.
7) Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water and other fluids will help keep your mouth moist. Another reason drinking fluids might help: In traditional Chinese medicine, bad breath is often the result of excess heat in the stomach. Water, soup and watery fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, are thought to help to rebalance the body.
8) According to traditional Chinese medicine, bitter foods, such as Belgian endive and many dark green leafy vegetables are also believed to help stomach heat. Certain foods, such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, milk and fried or spicy foods are thought to worsen the problem.
9) Snack on crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, carrots or jicama. Crunchy foods can help remove food, bacteria and plaque from teeth.
10) Get help managing stress. Many people have bad breath that doesn’t have a clearly identifiable cause. One small preliminary study found that in healthy young men with good oral hygiene and general health, stress increased the production of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth. To learn specific relaxation techniques, go to my section on mind/body techniques. Also, find out about natural remedies for anxiety.