Bad Breath

Most people cannot smell their own bad breath, but it is all too apparent to others. Among the many causes of unpleasant breath odor, smoking, eating certain foods, and poor dental hygiene are the most common. Foods and drinks affect the breath either directly or indirectly through the lungs and digestive system. Wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages leave a residue in the mouth that alters breath odor, and the digestive process produces a somewhat different, sour smell. Foods with relatively high sulfur content-garlic, onions, fish, and meat, for example- can create a lingering breath odor because, as they are digested, sulfur compounds enter the bloodstream, travel to the lungs, and are exhaled. As the body metabolizes these compounds the odor disappears. Anything that dries the mouth also promotes bad breath. A steady flow of saliva controls the oral bacteria. When saliva production falls, such as during sleep, the bacteria quickly multiply, feeding on particles of food in the mouth and forming a sticky film called plaque on the teeth. This process produces so called morning breath .Drugs that reduce the flow of saliva, including antihistamines, antidepres sants, and diuretics, as well as disorders of the salivary glands, are other causes of unpleasant breath from a dry mouth. Also, saliva production naturally declines with age, which explains why many older people have bad breath.

Diagnostic Studies and Procedures

The above causes of bad breath are easy to determine, but tracking down others may require considerable detective work. A thorough dental checkup is a logical first step. If the problem lies elsewhere, a doctor may find the cause during a physical examination of the mouth, throat, and lungs. Sometimes the nature of the odor provides important clues. For example, breath that smells fruity or like nail polish indicates possible diabetes. Blood and urine tests are done to look for diabetes and liver or kidney disorders A chest X-ray and analysis of a sputum sample can pinpoint a common lung disorder such as pneumonia, which may cause stale breath. In some cases, however, extensive medical testing fails to find an underlying cause.

Medical Treatments

Treatment obviously depends on the cause. Bad breath that stems from poor oral hygiene can be remedied by filling any cavities, scaling and cleaning the teeth, and treating gum disease. Special mouthwashes or artificial saliva may remedy a chronic dry mouth. Antibiotics might be prescribed to treat an underlying infection, such as chronic bronchitis. Other treatments will be tailored to the specific problem.

Alternative Therapies

Herbal Medicine, Parsley, which is packed with chlorophyll, is a popular herbal breath freshener. Eating a sprig of fresh parsley after having onions and other odorous foods often prevents the bad breath associated with them. Alfalfa, which is also high in chlorhyll, is another herbal remedy for bad breath. Herbalists from recommend one tablespoon of alfalfa juice twice daily Alternatively, alfalfa tablets may be taken. Other herbs recommended to counter bad breath are cloves, ginger (root), peppermint, fennel, anise seeds, sage, and rosemary The leaves of some of these are chewed; extracts of others are mixed at a ratio of three parts water to one part extract to make a mouthwash.


Practitioners often advise a cleansing three day fast, which they believe rids the body of toxins and reduces the causes of bad breath. One regimen calls for eating only raw foods for two days before and after fasting.

Self Treatment

In the majority of cases, bad breath is easily eliminated by diligent self care, starting with a look at your diet. Often, simply avoiding raw onions, garlic, and similar foods is all that is needed to freshen breath. Careful dental hygiene is crucial. See a dentist or dental hygienist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Floss daily and brush your teeth every morning and evening as well as after eating. If brushing after every meal is impractical, at least rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash. Unfortunately, most mouthwashes just mask breath odor, rather than eliminate its cause. Those that contain zinc and sodium benzoate, however, help to neutralize the odor causing waste products from bacteria. Rinsing and gargling with warm salt water or 1 teaspoon of a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide in ½ cup of water also helps control oral bacteria and eliminate bad breath. The tongue can contribute to bad breath; clean it with a soft brush or rinse your mouth with warm water and salt, baking soda, or a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.To help prevent dry mouth, drink at least eight glasses of water or other fluids throughout the day Fruit juice stimulates saliva secretion, as does chewing sugarless gum.

Video – Home Remedies

Other Causes of Bad Breath

A number of diseases affect breath odor, including diabetes, chronic bron chit is and other lung infections, tonsil litis, gastritis, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and some types of cancer. With kidney failure, the breath has a urine like odor. Illnesses that cause vomiting produce temporary bad breath, as does prolonged fasting.