20 Foods that Can Help Eliminate Bad Breath

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Halitosis – the medical name for bad breath – can result from poor dental health or it could be a sign of other health concerns, such as a gastrointestinal problem. Obviously, not brushing and flossing daily can cause food particles to remain in the mouth, which promote bacterial growth leading to odor. Smoking, dry mouth, and gum disease are other oral health concerns that can cause bad breath.

Other health conditions that should be considered include respiratory tract infections, chronic sinus infections, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and liver or kidney problems. Certain medications can also cause bad breath. Don’t forget to look at your diet as well. A poor diet can lead to an improperly functioning digestive tract.

Obviously, the first form of defense against halitosis is good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day (including your tongue) with a fluoride-containing toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque and floss at least once a day. Quit smoking if you smoke. See your dentist regularly – at least twice a year.

But if you find yourself in a situation where you are without your toothbrush and need to stop bad breath in its tracts, here are some foods that might help.

Parsley, Basil – Chew parsley or basil sprigs, especially if your breath odors come from eating onion or garlic. Sulfur compounds from foods such as onions are absorbed into the bloodstream and then expelled when you exhale. The polyphenols – specifically chlorophyll - in parsley and basil can fight this effect by killing the bacteria. You can also steep the herbs into a tea.

Other herbs that are good for fighting bad breath include coriander, spearmint, tarragon, rosemary and cardamom.

Coriander – coriander seeds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. Coriander may help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, improve insulin levels, and have antioxidants that scavenge free radicals. Gargling with coriander tea is thought to cure bad breath as well as toothaches. It may also be a fix for stomach problems, such as indigestion and flatulence.

Mint (Spearmint, Peppermint) – Fresh mint not only can ease indigestion and heartburn, but also may fight the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. Mint also contains chlorophyll plus the minty-fresh taste can mask odors. You may want to try some peppermint oil drops on your tongue for a refreshing feeling in your mouth.

Tarragon – Tarragon is sometimes used to treat poor digestion, bloating or flatulence caused by gas. Some believe it may also be an effective fighter of H.pylori, the bacteria most implicated in stomach ulcers. Tarragon is also rich in coumarins, which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects making it good for toothaches.

Rosemary – You can prepare a tea of dried rosemary and hot water; allow it to steep for five minutes then cool. Gargle several times a day with this rosemary tea to fight bad breath.

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Cardamom – chewing on cardamom pods (do not swallow!) for a few minutes can help get rid of bad breath. The aromatic digestive may also help stimulate a sluggish digestion.

Anise – Bacteriostatic properties of quercetin (rich in anise) are capable of inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth, the secretions of which cause halitosis. Anise also contains more than twenty aromatic compounds that can mask foul odor.

Fennel Seeds – Fennel contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as contains a number of minerals and phytonutrients. Fennel seeds are an excellent natural remedy for bad breath since the seeds can help resolve digestive problems as well as provide a fresh aromatic scent. Chew one to one and a half teaspoons of fennel seeds throughout the day or make a warm fennel tea to use as a mouthwash.

Dill Seeds – Try chewing dried dill seeds or adding fresh dill to meals to freshen breath.

Cinnamon – Cinnamon in any form (sticks, teas) can mask odors of the mouth. It may also have a hand in killing the odor-causing bacteria.

Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is an ingredient used in some mouthwashes. The plant oil contains cineole, an antiseptic that kills bacteria. Warning: Eucalyptus oil can be toxic when taken by mouth, so do not take except under your doctor’s supervision.

Celery, Apples – the solid texture of fibrous fruits and vegetables can help get rid of excessive plaque on the teeth. High-water content produce can also help provide moisture for dry mouths. Apples have also been shown effective against garlic breath.

Berries and Citrus Fruits – foods rich in vitamin C create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. Vitamin C is also important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis.

Cherries, Lettuce – Cherries and lettuce contain compounds that help remove the smell of methyl mercaptan, an odorous gas released by mouth bacteria as they digest bits of food.

Avocado, Guava – Avocado effectively deals with intestinal food decomposition and thus minimizes bad breath caused by the gases released by intestinal bacteria. Guava contains several components, including malic, oxalic, phosphoric, and tannic acids, which stops bleeding in the gums and strengthens their hold on teeth. It also destroys harmful bacteria residing in the gums.

References Include: Eating Well Magazine, MSN Today, WebMD, Botanical Online, and University of Maryland Medical Center

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