Question: Sometimes my breath doesn’t smell very pleasant. Are there any natural remedies you would recommend?
BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 10:10
Answer: All of us have suffered from bad breath at some point in our lives, just cast your mind back to that last packet of cheese and onion crisps or piece of garlic bread!
Sometimes, however, it is difficult to pin point the cause. The fact is, just about anything we put into our mouths, from food and drink to anti-biotics, can make our breath smell less desirable. Mouth sores, stress, sinus problems and hormonal imbalances are also contributing factors.
Persistent bad breath is usually caused by tooth and gum disorders, or an infection such as thrush, but it can also indicate gastro-intestinal disorders, tuberculosis or syphilis. Therefore if bad breath persists, I would strongly recommend you consult your dentist or GP.
In the meantime, here are a few tips that should help to nip any nasty niffs in the bud.
As well as brushing your teeth twice a day, you should also brush your tongue. The top surface of the tongue is covered with microscopic, hair-like projections that trap and harbour plaque, causing breath to smell. A daily, gentle brushing dislodges these odorous particles.
Don’t let your mouth become too dry. Saliva is slightly acidic and normally suppresses the bacteria that can lead to bad breath. However, if you become dehydrated the saliva in your mouth will dry up allowing bacteria to multiply.
Equally, prescription and over-the-counter drugs can also have a drying effect. To keep saliva flowing, drink plenty of water (between 1.5 – 2 litres a day) and eat plenty of fruit. Citrus fruits, such as apples and oranges and other foods high in citric acid are very good at stimulating saliva.
Finally, as far as natural remedies are concerned, you may wish to try chewing parsley, a natural breath freshener that releases aromatic substances into the lungs for up to 24 hours, or infusions of peppermint or fenugreek.
Chlorophyll, the green substance in plants, can also be effective. It has been used for years to help with bad breath and is found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables, algae, wheat grass and barley grass. Alternatively, chlorophyll supplements in the form of capsules, tablets and drinks are also available.
Mastic Gum and toothpaste has also been found to help reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth. A 1985 study by the University of Thessaloniki and by the Meikai University discovered that mastic can reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth by 41.5 percent.