Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, as bacteria that builds up on the back of your tongue or in between your teeth is the main culprit. Bad breath can be caused by foods, smoking, dry mouth, medical conditions, gum disease, and sinus conditions.
If your halitosis hangs on for more than 24 hours without an obvious cause, call your dentist or doctor. It can be a sign of gum disease, gastrointestinal problems, sinus infection, bronchitis, or even more serious diseases, such as diabetes, liver or kidney failure, and cancer.
Here are the remedies for bad breath at home.
Mix extracts of sage, calendula, and myrrh gum (all available at health food stores) in equal proportions and gargle with the mixture four times a day. Keep the mouthwash in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature. Even when you can't brush, you can rinse. Take a sip of water after meals, swish it around, and wash the smell of food from your mouth.
Camembert, Roquefort, and blue cheese are called strong for good reason—they get a hold on your breath and don't let go. Other dairy products may have the same effect.
While brushing, gently sweep the top of your tongue, too, so that you don't leave food and bacteria behind to breed bad breath.
Other herbs and spices in your kitchen are natural breath enhancers. Carry a tiny plastic bag of cloves, fennel, or anise seeds to chew after odorous meals.
Parsley adds more than green to your lunch plate; it's also a breath-saver, because it contains chlorophyll, a known breath deodorizer. So pick up that sprig garnishing your plate and chew it thoroughly.
Highly spiced foods like to linger long after the party's over. Certain tastes and smells recirculate through the essential oils that they leave in your mouth. Depending on how much you eat, the odor can remain up to 24 hours, no matter how often you brush your teeth.
If you need 20 minutes of freedom from bad breath, gargling with a mouthwash is a great idea. But like Cinderella's coach-turned-pumpkin, when your time is up, the magic will be gone, and you'll be back to talking from behind your hand again.
Like mouthwash, a breath mint or minty gum is just a cover-up, good for a short interview, a short ride in a compact car, or a very short date.