Bad breath, scientifically known as Halitoses, can cause embarassment and make a person socially inactive. People use a variety of toothpastes and mouthwashes to combat this problem but the solution actually lies in finding the root cause of the problem. In majority of cases, the cause of bad breath is lack of oral hygiene. Plaque (the bacterial film in the mouth), decaying food particles between teeth, cavities and gum problems are some of the factors that lead to bad breath.
However, if a person does not have any of these oro-dental troubles, bad breath can stem from other medical conditions such as respiratory or gastrointestinal disease, kidney or liver dysfunction, diabetes, pneumonia and sinus infection. Other possible factors can be dry mouth syndrome, salivary gland problems and breathing through the mouth. Pungent foods like onions and garlic, smoking and alcoholism also aggravate this problem.
Many spices and herbs found in our kitchens can be used as remedies for bad breath.
1. ORAL HYGIENE: The first and most important remedy for bad breath is oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing twice a day itself can resolve the problem for many people. The tongue needs to be cleaned tongue cleaner, followed by a mouthrinse with an alcohol free mouthwash. This is very important because the alcohol content in your mouthwash may cause the problem of dry mouth.
2. WATER: Drinking water through the day is another remedy of bad breath. If you find drinking plain water difficult, squeeze a lemon into your water bottle, or drop a few leaves of mint. The water will taste better and the drink will serve as a mild mouth freshener. Additionally, dehydration being the main cause of bad breath, intake of lots of water helps kill the odor causing bacteria.
3. VEGETABLES: Consume plenty of veggies like carrots and celery. They help combat bad breath causing bacteria and also fight plaque. Vegetables juices are also very beneficial.
4. FRUITS: Eating fruits like apples and bananas is another home remedy for bad breath. Crunchy fruits help to clean the mouth and remove the food particles trapped between the teeth. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain citric acid which stimulates the salivary glands and prevent the problem of dry mouth. Eating raw guavas also helps.
5. FENUGREEK: Fenugreek (methi) seeds are an effective remedial measure for bad breath. Tea prepared using fenugreek seeds fight bad breath. It can be made by adding one teaspoon of seeds to half a liter of water, boiling it for 15 minutes and then straining it and having it as a tea. Alternatively, fenugreek leaves may also be used for the same.
6. LEMON: Rinsing your mouth with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with a glass of water works wonders for bad breath.
7. SALT: Rinse your mouth with a salt solution daily to get rid of this problem.
8. BAKING SODA: Another wonderful antidote for bad breath is baking soda. It can be used for brushing your teeth or as a gargle with warm water. It is an agent that kills bacteria and reduces acidity in the mouth.
9. FENNEL: Fennel (saunf), one of the most common herbs found in the kitchen, is probably the most widely used mouth freshener. Fennel seeds chewed after meals combat bad breath and can be mixed with spices like clove and cardamom to enhance the effect.
10. TEA: Tea, green or black, curbs the growth of disease causing bacteria. Alternatively, herbal tea can be prepared using herbs like alfalfa, cardamm,
11. MINT: Mint based chewing gums help to relieve the problem of bad breath. Chewing mint leaves also refreshes the mouth.
12. CLOVES: Cloves (laung) is another aromatic spice useful for this purpose. Chewing a few pieces of clove shows its effect within minutes. Adding cloves to tea enhances its ability to kill bacteria.
13. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Apple cider vinegar is another bacteria destroying agent. Taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before meals will not only cure bad breath but will also help digestion.
14. TEA TREE OIL: The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil help to get rid of bad breath. It can be added to your toothpaste while brushing your teeth. You can also prepare a mouthwash by mixing tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil in equal quantities.
15. PARSLEY: Parsley is another herb, whose chlorophyll content helps to rectify the problem of bad breath. It can either be chewed in its natural form or crushed to extract the juice.
Certain changes in lifestyle help to put an end to the bad breath menace. We should have a proper oral and dental care routine which includes regular visits to the dentist for timely detection and treatment of dental problems. On the other hand, if there are no dental problems, we can look for other possible medical problems that might be responsible for bad breath. Stress has also been shown to cause bad breath. Foods like onions and garlic in raw form should be avoided. Also say no to carbonated drinks, tobacco, alcohol, coffee and spicy foods.