There are several techniques to alleviate bad breath, and most of them are lifestyle choices and diet modifications that you can easily make.

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects 1 in 4 people globally and is the third most common why people visit the dentist. Bad breath can be quite crippling and may make one socially awkward and anxious. If you’re concerned about your breath being problematic, do not worry. There are several techniques to alleviate bad breath, and most of them are lifestyle choices and diet modifications that you can easily make. Although the best way is to get it sorted by a professional, there are certain home remedies that you may adopt to freshen your breath. So read on to get an insight on what causes bad breath and how you could fight it naturally.

Oral health care for kids and elderly

Poor oral hygiene - Bad oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath. Bad breath mostly occurs when the food remnants present in the mouth are broken down by bacteria to produce foul-smelling, sulfuric end products.

Dental diseases - Accumulation of plaque/calculus can inadvertently result in gum infections and bad breath. Tooth decay is another cause for halitosis.

Dry mouth - Certain medications and systemic illnesses can cause dry mouth, which reduces the salivary flow and subsequently leads to halitosis

Diet - Certain food items like onion, garlic, fish etc can cause malodor temporarily as their breakdown products are carried to the lungs through the bloodstream. Food debris stuck in the teeth can also result in bad breath. Consumption of a diet low in carbohydrates can lead to a foul, fruity smell due to the formation of ketone bodies.

Smoking and drinking - Consumption of alcohol or smoking cigarettes or tobacco related products leaves residual chemicals in the mouth which can cause bad breath.

Systemic illnesses - Certain systemic diseases like liver diseases, kidney diseases, diabetes and other metabolic diseases can cause bad breath due to the production of abnormal breakdown products. Issues in the digestive system like GERD can result in bad breath due to acid reflux.

Pregnancy/Menstrual cycle - Physiologic changes in our body that leads to hormonal fluctuations have also been linked to halitosis.

One of the easiest and the most fool-proof methods to curb bad breath is to ensure that you follow basic oral hygiene measures like brushing twice a day, flossing to remove food stuck in between the teeth and scraping or cleaning the tongue thoroughly. In addition to maintaining a healthy mouth through good cleaning habits, you may also try out some natural remedies to eliminate bad breath. A lot of food items found in your neighbourhood grocery store can help in getting rid of halitosis. Some of them include:

  • Increasing fluid or water intake can prevent dry mouth and hence help in getting rid of bad breath
  • Consuming a diet rich in fibre (for e.g banana, beetroot, carrots etc) not only helps with halitosis, it also keeps the gastric system clean
  • Consuming beverages that are rich in antioxidants like green tea can aid in killing the unwanted bacteria in the mouth
  • Chewing parsley or mint leaves with apple cider vinegar can freshen the breath
  • Gargling with warm saline water is another good method
  • Cinnamon and cardamom can also act as mouth freshners
  • Some ingredients can be mixed together to create a natural mouth rinse. A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water or ginger juice and warm water works wonder in removing bad breath.
  • Few essential oils like peppermint oil or coconut oil mixed with water can act as mouth freshening agents
  • Few other things include eating yogurt, chewing fennel seeds and vitamin C rich foods

Also ensure that you follow a good sleep cycle to boost up your immune system and de-stress your body with activities that you enjoy.

When to see a doctor?

If your bad breath persists despite following the conventional remedies, you may probably need to pay a visit to the dentist. Sometimes, bad breath might be a sign of a decaying tooth or gum disease, which might worsen if untreated. In certain cases, the medications that you consume or any underlying systemic illness can also cause halitosis. If the reason for your bad breath is due to some other bodily disorder, you may have to consult a physician as well.


Bad breath can often be eliminated with straightforward methods. Most of the suggested natural remedies work very well and are scientifically backed. If you don’t see any signs of improvement with these remedies, do seek a professional’s help as there might be some other underlying cause that may be standing in your way of getting a fresh breath