Bad breath is quite common and one does not even realise that you could be emanating a terrible odour. A simple test—cover your mouth and nose with your hand and exhale and smell.
There are many causes of bad breath: A mouth that is not cleaned properly or plaque, which is the nearly invisible film of bacteria constantly forming in your mouth. Some other reasons are acidic body, constipation, cavities, gum disease, dentures, lung disease, throat infection, a vitamin B or zinc deficiency, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, kidney problems. So, never ignore bad breath.
Certain foods like garlic, onions, meat and fish can make your mouth smell. Coffee, alcohol, fizzy drinks, sugar, too, can be bad-breathe triggers, as do chewing tobacco and smoking. Rinsing often can prevent it. Brush your teeth in the morning, and after every meal, especially after consuming milk products, fish and meat. Floss if necessary. Often the food particles left in tiny gaps between teeth lead to bad breath because of bacterial activity. It is common sense that stale food rots and smells same way the food particles in your mouth rot, causing the breath to stink. Another important point to note is to clean your tooth brush daily and replace regularly.
Ironically, excessive use of alcohol-based mouthwashes can make your mouth very dry, causing bad breath.
Natural ways to fight bad breath
Fennel (saunf): Its aromatic odour makes it is a common mouth-freshener. Dry roasted, stored in air-tight containers, work best. Have a teaspoon after meals.
Mint (pudina): The most refreshing natural mouth freshener, it contains menthol, a universal ingredient of dental products. Chew on mint leaves and not the menthol sweet.
Cardamom (elaichi): The fragrant flavour in cardamom, is a breath freshener.
Basil (tulsi): Chew 4-5 fresh basil leaves first thing in the morning to refresh your mouth. Its leaves, sun-dried and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. Mix with mustared oil to make a paste and use as toothpaste. It is excellent for dental health and counteracting bad breath.
Fenugreek (methi): Soak one teaspoon of seeds overnight. Boil, strain and sip on this decoction.
Neem leaves: It is an ancient Indian remedy for mouth odours. It is antiseptic and antibacterial. Less than a century ago it was common to chew a neem bark instead of using a toothpaste or toothbrush. Neem, today, is an active ingredient in many toothpastes. One can make a mouth wash with neem leaves by boiling them in water and straining it.
Clove is a common home remedy for gum infections, toothache and cavities. Its strong aroma helps prevent mouth odours. Suck on a clove after a meal.
Coriander seeds are the best solution to battle the odour of onion and garlic due to their aromatic flavour. Chew a teaspoon of roasted coriander seeds after meals or boil the same amount in one cup of water for 2-3 minutes. Strain and use it as mouth wash.
Green tea: Polyphones in it stop bacterial infections in the mouth and reduce bad breath.
Dill (suva): Chlorophyll, an active compound used in treating dental problems and bad breath, is plentiful in it. Chew on dried and roasted dill seeds after meals or prepare tea with dry crushed seeds.
Cinnamon: A small piece of this spice contains volatile oils that help battle a smelly mouth. A tiny piece of this bark chewed after meals destroys mouth bacteria and refreshes your breath.
Betel leaf: It is a common habit in India to chew on a betel leaf after meals. This simple practice keeps your mouth fresh, aids digestion and prevents bad breath.
Rinse your mouth with water and the juice of half a lemon, before sleeping. If your saliva is acidic, drink lemon water Washing the tongue with lemon juice and water can reduce the acidity in your mouth making it a less-friendly environment for the bacteria to grow. Keep in mind that many people experience “morning breath”, which is the result of reduced saliva flow during sleep that allows acids and other debris to putrefy in the mouth. Brushing and flossing thoroughly before bed, and brushing your teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, will usually eliminate morning breath.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Make sure that you use the right toothbrush, not too hard and not too soft. Removing dentures each night and clean them well before replacing them each morning. Keep your tongue clean to. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.