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Peppermint essential oil in a glass bottle with a tag on wooden background

The most common way people look to get rid of their bad breath is with mouthwash or mints. It’s important to know the common cause of bad breath is a bacterial imbalance in the oral microbiome.

The good news is that with lifestyle changes and natural remedies, you can cure bad breath naturally.

I recommend that you try all the approaches in this article to cure your bad breath.

However, if your bad breath persists, see your dentist. They should then investigate the cause of your bad breath.

The oral-systemic link can help us identify the root cause of our bad breath.  Bad breath can be a sign from the mouth that you have a disease or condition elsewhere in the body. You may also need to see a general practitioner.

Let’s explore the causes of bad breath and the natural remedies that can cure it.

Natural remedies for bad breath #1: Warm Salt Water Rinse

A salt water (saline solution) rinse can prevent buildup of infectious bacteria in the mouth or throat. The effect is probably due to salt water’s slight acidity. This prevents the ‘alkalizing’ environment that encourage the growth of microbes that cause bad breath.

Salt water is a great, simple home remedy for bad breath.

Natural remedies for bad breath #2: Zinc

Zinc is an important trace element your body. It’s estimated that over 300 cellular functions, including your DNA, use zinc.  This includes the microbiome, including mouth and gut flora.

You can try a zinc mouthwash or chewing gum to treat your bad breath. Zinc gluconate and zinc citrate have also been shown to have a small effect on oral plaque build-up.

Zinc supplements are thought to help improve immune function too, and may help to rebalance the microbiome.

For the common cold, doses range from 4.5-24 milligrams of zinc (gluconate or acetate) in the form of lozenges. These are taken every 1-3 hours for 3-14 days or until symptoms resolve. Always check with your health practitioner before taking higher doses of zinc.

Natural remedies for bad breath #3: Digestive Enzymes

Your bad breath may be caused by your digestive system. If you have digestive problems and suffer from bad breath too, digestive enzymes may help your digestion.

Digestive enzyme products come from different sources.

  • Animal-sourced — including pancreatin sourced from ox or hog. This can include betaine
  • HCL with pepsin
  • Bromelain and Papain are digestive enzymes contained in pineapple
  • Other plant-sourced — from probiotics, yeast and fungi

Natural remedies for bad breath #4: Cinnamon Chewing Sticks

Cinnamon chewing sticks also contain fiber that support microbial diversity in the mouth.

Natural remedies for bad breath #5:

You can try drinking 3-5 cups of green tea per day or taking a polyphenol EGCG supplement.

Natural remedies for bad breath #6: Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a natural antifungal and antibacterial plant product. Research has shown it’s as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing plaque.  It also boosts the creation of collagen, improving the mouth’s ability to heal.

You can make your own aloe Vera mouthwash to combat bad breath. Simply boil some water and add aloe Vera gel once it is cooled. You can also add peppermint oil to taste.

Natural remedies for bad breath #7: Prevent oxygen deprivation

There are two important links between bad breath and lack of oxygen.

  • Mouth breathing and oxygen deprivation

Your body isn’t designed to breathe through your mouth. It’s designed to breathe through your nose.

Your nasal passages are specially designed to release nitrous oxide. This increases blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the cells. In contrast, mouth breathing pulls cold, dry air to the lungs. A lower amount of oxygen is to delivered to your body.  Mouth breathing can also reduce saliva flow and allow unwanted microbiota into your mouth and throat.

It’s quite common to breathe through our mouths during sleep. However, many people, especially children, also breathe through their mouth during the day.

If you experience ‘morning breath’– bad breath that only occurs on waking – you probably sleep with your mouth open.  One way to alleviate this is to train your body to breathe through your nose. You can also use a strip to keep your mouth closed at night to make sure you breathe through your nose.

If you struggle to breathe through your nose, you should consult a sleep specialist, dentist or ENT doctor. They can conduct a full sleep and breathing study.

Nose Breathing Exercise: Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth, behind your front teeth. Breathe in through your nose, making your belly rise. Breathe in for 3 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds. Do this for 2-3 minutes daily.

  • Anaerobic bacteria and oxygen deprivation

Bad breath is most commonly caused by anaerobic bacteria in your mouth. These bugs thrive in the absence of oxygen, producing chemicals that cause bad breath.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy(HBO) can increase your oxygen intake.

In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal and pure oxygen is administered. Under these conditions, your lungs absorb far more of the pure oxygen than they would at normal pressure.

Hyperbaric oxygen is known to help gangrene, skin and bone infections and non-healing ulcers.  At present, research is limited and mainly confined to sports injuries. However, we know that bacteria that produce bad breath compounds thrive in mouth crevices where oxygen can’t reach.

Natural remedies for bad breath #7: Hydration

Drink more water. Hydration will help maintain saliva flow and keep your mouth moist, discouraging bacterial growth.

Cut down on diuretics. Diuretics such as coffee, black tea and alcohol increase fluid loss and may cause dry mouth.

Natural remedies for bad breath #8: Oral hygiene

Stop nasty bacteria from building up on your gums and teeth.

Oral hygiene. Regular oral hygiene, including interdental cleaning with floss, will help to prevent bad breath.

Brush your tongue. The bacteria that cause bad breath are often found on the topside of your tongue. If you can see a white coating on your tongue, you should remove this debris with a tongue cleaner.

Natural remedies for bad breath #9: Exercise

Daily exercises help to increase your ventilation and circulation rate. This helps to increase cellular turnover throughout your body.

Exercise has also been shown to be good for maintaining microbiome health. This may help to manage harmful bugs that cause bad breath.

Natural remedies for bad breath #10: Decrease your stress

Stress can change your body’s odor.

One natural remedy for reducing bad breath may be to get your stress under control. Bad breath is a sign that both your immune system and microbiome aren’t working the way they should.

Chronic stress can damage your immune system and reduce your ability to respond to your environment. Central to this is your microbiome.

Stress as a cause of bad breath may be due to its ability to cause odor. We know stress increases sweat gland activity. These secretions interact with bacteria in your body to create body odor.

Natural remedies for bad breath #11: Get good quality sleep and rest  

Researchers have also found that your gut microbiome plays a role in your diurnal rhythm. If you have bad breath, it’s worth looking at your sleep patterns and trying to ensure you get enough good quality sleep.

Natural remedies for bad breath #12: Essential oils

Many toothpaste and mouthwashes claim to kill bacteria that cause bad breath. However, we know little about what these products do to the whole microbiome. Natural products with antimicrobial properties may be more effective in preserving ‘friendly’ bacteria.

For bad breath, try gargling with peppermint oil, a potent anti-microbial that kills off harmful bacteria and leaves the breath fresh. Mix 1-2 drops with water and swish the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds.

Lemongrass has antimicrobial properties that inhibit certain bacteria, both internally and externally. It is also known to be effective against bacterial infections in the colon.

Lemon grass oil may be used as an internal or external preparation. Chewing lemon rind may also be effective.

It’s used as a natural pain reliever, especially for dental emergencies.

You can add a few drops of clove oil to water as a natural bad breath remedy.

You can add a few drops of concentrated orange oil to water to make a drink or peel orange rind straight from the orange and chew it.

Consult your dentist before trying these oils as a cure for bad breath, and don’t use them for more than 2-3 weeks. You can try combining them to suit your taste.

Natural remedies for bad breath #13: Skin Rubs

Your skin microbiome communicates with your oral microbiome. Therefore, rubbing certain pleasant smelling  essential oils on your skin could have a positive effect on your bad breath. You can add these to a bath or add diluted to skin.

Tea tree oil is well known for its antibacterial properties. It’s especially effective against bacteria that live on the skin.

Lavender oil is another natural anti-microbial oil that will leave your skin smelling fresh. Add a few drops to a damp cloth and dab onto your skin.

Heal your bad breath naturally

Nature is full of compounds that helps heal your oral, gut and digestive system. By working these into your daily routine, it is possible to find a natural remedy for bad breath.

Not only are many of these more pleasant to use, they may encourage long-term health of your oral and gut microbiome.

If your bad breath persists, please see your dentist or doctor.