There are few things on television or movies that are more unrealistic than when a couple wakes up in bed and proceeds to make out as if they were in 8th grade.
Has the director never heard of morning dragon breath?
It’s something embarrassing we all deal with. And, realistically, after 8 hours of bacteria percolating overnight, it would almost be stranger if you opened up your mouth and your breath smelled like roses. In truth, occasional bad breath is incredibly common. But how can you minimize the smell, and what do you do if the problem persists and follows you throughout the day?
Luckily today, we have tools like interdental brushes, water flossers and electric toothbrushes to not only clean teeth, but to prevent gingivitis and other dental issues from forming. Below, we’ll discuss how to cure bad breath naturally!
Bad Breath isn’t a New Problem
Halitosis (Latin for bad breath) is the medical term for chronic bad breath. And, as the name’s ancient roots indicate, it’s a problem that’s been around for millennia. Halitosis has been addressed by both the Jewish and Muslim religions, plagued ancient empires such as Rome and Egypt, and bothered gentile aristocratic society throughout the Renaissance. According to the Smithsonian:
Our efforts to get rid of breath showcase a history of human inventiveness. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, appear to have invented breath mints some 3,000 years ago. They created concoctions of boiled herbs and spices—frankincense, myrrh, and cinnamon were popular flavorings—mixed with honey to make sweets that could be chewed or sucked.
The 15th century Chinese were the first civilization we have on record who came up with the idea of brushing teeth to eliminate bad breath. But, sadly for the world, the fad didn’t catch on in Western culture until the early 20th century. Instead, they—like the Egyptians—would use candies known as cachous, meant to mask the smell of malodorous breath. Typical lozenges included:
- Cinnamon oil
- Rose essence
- Violet essence
Jane Austen once famously complained about her neighbors, saying, “I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.” And what she notes hits a pain point that is all too commonly experienced, even in a day and age with modern dentistry.
Bad breath is embarrassing.
It can cause psychological distress and anxiety, impact your confidence, and impair your personal relationships. What you may not be aware of is that it’s a completely common worry, both historically speaking and in a modern setting. The Washington Post writes:
Although the exact prevalence of the condition is unknown, it is thought to range from 15 to 30 percent, based on studies done in several countries, and men have the dubious distinction of outscoring women.
If you’re concerned about this issue, just know that you’re not alone.
But what causes it?
The Cause of Halitosis
In both common and persistent cases of chronic bad breath, the root of the problem typically derives from your mouth. One study on the matter from the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine found the following:
Although halitosis has multifactorial origins, the source of 90% of cases is oral cavity such as poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, tongue coat, food impaction, unclean dentures, faulty restorations, oral carcinomas, and throat infections.
As mentioned, this hot, moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria—both good and bad. When you eat food or drink liquids, remnants get caught in your teeth, gums, tongue or the folds of your mouth. If left there, bacteria will grow on these residues, break down into dozens of gaseous amino acids, including odorous hydrogen sulfide. This process can lead to tooth decay, Gingivitis, and a number of different issues.
This is the primary cause for run-of-the-mill bad breath and can generally be chalked up to a lack of dental hygiene. Failure to brush and floss regularly allows bacteria on and in between the teeth to accumulate and then harden into plaque. This not only adds yet another foul-odor to the mouth, but makes the problem much harder to handle without a trip to the dentist.
That said, other causes of halitosis beyond dental hygiene include:
- Food – While any food that’s unbrushed or unflossed will eventually cause bad breath, certain foods such as garlic, onions, spices, or curries can cause your breath to smell. Also, once those foods are digested and enter your bloodstream, those smells may be carried to your lungs and impact your breath.
- Tobacco products – Smoking any substance will often create an unpleasant mouth odor, but that is made worse by smokers with gum disease, which can worsen the halitosis.
- Dry mouth – The reason why you might have morning breath is that your mouth dries out overnight, particularly if you’re a mouth breather. This is because saliva is meant to help clean your mouth and eliminate food particles that can cause foul smells.
- Tonsil stones – Small white stones that are covered in bacteria, smell terrible and originate in your tonsils.
- Nose and throat conditions – There are various infections or inflammations that can cause issues such as postnasal drip and halitosis.
- Diseases – Some cancers and metabolic disorders can result in noticeable halitosis due to the internal chemicals they produce.
How to Prevent Bad Breath?
So, naturally, you might be curious about bad breath prevention tips help you stop having bad breath in the morning and throughout the day. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to prevent bad breath along with tooth decay, plaque buildup, and other dental issues. These include:
- Brush and floss – If you’re worried about your breath, then you need to be doing everything in your power to ensure that your mouth is free of trapped food and bacteria. This starts by following your doctor’s recommendations regarding oral hygiene by brushing AND flossing.
To begin, start by brushing your teeth 3 times per day: in the morning, after lunch, after dinner. After your final brush of the day, get in there good with floss or toothpicks to ensure that you’ve removed even the most stubborn food bits. Also, as you’re brushing your teeth, be sure to take your time and get each tooth from all angles, your gums, cheeks, and most importantly…
- Brush your tongue! – This gets its own bullet point because it can’t be overstated enough that the tongue is one of the primary hosts for malodorous bacteria. So, be sure to brush your entire tongue—particularly the back of the tongue—or get a tongue scraper that’s designed to remove the bacteria and dead cells a toothbrush might not be able to get off.
- Use mouthwash – To further supplement your hygiene efforts and combat bacteria and plaque from forming, using mouthwash that has fluoride and kills germs will do wonders to add that extra layer of dental protection. Even simply swishing water after a meal is a simple way to help dislodge food particles.
- Eat the right foods – There are a host of foods that can help supplement your efforts. These include:
- Fennel or anise seeds– An ancient remedy, both seeds have been eaten plain, roasted, or covered in sugar to act as breath fresheners.
- Yogurt – Yogurt has healthy bacteria and probiotics that help stave off bad bacteria, especially in your gut. One 2005 study from Japan discovered that “the levels of volatile sulfide compounds, namely, hydrogen sulfide, decreased in 80% of the volunteers after six weeks. Further, the plaque and gingival indices in the yogurt-eating volunteers were significantly lower than in the non-yogurt-eating group with bad breath.”
- Parsley– A common folk remedy, both its fresh smell and high chlorophyll content makes it a great combatant of sulfur compounds.
On top of this, several liquids have proven to have beneficial deodorizing effects, including:
- Green teas
- Pineapple Juice
- Try a natural mouthwash remedy – According to Healthline:
Studies have shown that baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth and toothpastes containing high concentrations of baking soda effectively reduce bad breath. To make a baking soda mouthwash, add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water. Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Go see a doctor – If you practice good oral hygiene and take the recommended steps above, all to no avail, it’s important that you go see a doctor since it could be indicative of an underlying medical issue that goes deeper than simple halitosis.
Bad Breath Remedies and Prevention
Bad breath doesn’t have to be a problem for you anymore. While there are a host of things you can do to combat halitosis, it all starts with regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
Now, you may have the tooth brushing part down, but it’s unlikely that you are flossing anywhere near as often as you should be. That’s where Toothshower comes in—the world’s first flosser suite for the shower. Our inventive product, which has been featured by companies such as Business Insider, CBS, and Mashable, takes your flossing game to a whole new level with just half the effort.
So, choose the Toothshower as your weapon in the fight in getting rid of bad breath!
- Smithsonian Magazine. The History and Science Behind Your Terrible Breath. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/halitosis-horrors-how-bad-breath-became-americas-worst-nightmare-180962104/
- Washington Post. Bad breath? It’s hard to self-diagnose, but there are several ways to handle it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/bad-breath-its-hard-to-self-diagnose-but-there-are-several-ways-to-handle-it/2015/08/31/e58f1854-3485-11e5-8e66-07b4603ec92a_story.html
- NCBI. Halitosis: From Diagnosis to Management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633265/
- International and American Associations for Dental Research. Put culture in your life and reduce bad breath: Eat yogurt! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/iaa-pci030205.php
- Healthline. Things You Can Try at Home to Eliminate Bad Breath. https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-bad-breath
- Harvard Medical School. Bad Breath: What causes it and what to do about it. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/bad-breath-what-causes-it-and-what-to-do-about-it-2019012115803
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