Bad breath can be quite embarrassing, and in some cases can cause people to want to spend less time around you. This can lead to all kinds of social problems as well as self-esteem issues. Bad breath can be caused by several conditions including tooth decay, gum infections, liver disease, Diabetes, poor oral hygiene, acid reflux, oral candida, respiratory conditions, etc. Most of these conditions can be easily managed with evidence-based natural remedies.
The underlying cause has to be addressed in order to know which remedy is needed. This has to be diagnosed by a doctor.
– Improper oral hygiene
Not brushing daily can lead to a build-up of food particles, bacteria, and plaque. These result in bad breath.
1. Brushing of teeth twice a day – This can help to freshen the breath and clear out the plaque, food particles, and other substances that can cause a foul smell.
2. Gargling with Triphala – In clinical trials, Triphala was able to disinfect and heal gingivitis just as effectively as chlorhexidine. (see study)
– Tooth Decay
This condition can lead to the release of a foul smell from the decaying tooth.
1. The bacteria that cause tooth decay can be eliminated by using Triphala powder mixed in warm water as a mouth wash. (see study)
2. Chewing Tulsi can also eliminate this bacteria. (see study)
3. If the tooth/teeth are severely damaged, then an extraction will be needed.
– Gum disease
Infections of the gums can cause swelling, bleeding gums, and bad breath. If untreated, they lead to tooth loss as well.
1. In the case of an infection such as periodontitis, an anti-infective agent will be needed. There are natural Ayurvedic anti-infective agents that have been tested in clinical trials for treating this condition – these must be used under the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor.
2. In the case of Gingivitis, Triphala powder mixed in warm water and used as a mouth wash can help. (see study 1 & study 2)
Low insulin production -> Keto-acidosis -> Ketones -> Acetone breath
This has to be treated by a doctor. There are herbs that can support the production of insulin, however, they must be used under the proper supervision.
– Liver disease
Severe liver disease causes “fetor hepaticus” a musty smelling breath indicating illness
This has to be treated by an Ayurvedic doctor. There are Ayurvedic formulations that can treat severe liver disease.
– Candida Albicans
Caused by tongue piercings, dentures, as a result of a patient becoming immuno-compromised, etc.
1. Honey is a potent anti-fungal that has been tested against Candida Albicans in clinical trials. This remedy has been clinically tested in treating Candida affecting other parts of the body (see study), but not the oral cavity. However, in my experience, honey was effective in clearing out oral candida as well.
– Acid Reflux
The acid and undigested food that comes up can cause a foul smell.
1. Amla/Amalaki is a general remedy that has been used in clinical trials for treating acid reflux. (See study)
2. Baking Soda can help in the case of increased acid
3. Apple Cider Vinegar can help in the case of decreased acid – yes, decreased acid can lead to acid reflux as well.
– H.Pylori Infection
Common in Ulcers and GIT disorders – these can cause a foul smell.
1. Licorice Root has been effective in studies for treating H.Pylori. (See study)
– Respiratory Infections
Lung, Throat & Sinus issues can cause foul smelling breath.
These need to be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
– Dry Mouth Syndrome
Can result in bacteria build up leading to bad breath.
1. Thyme Honey has been used for treating Dry Mouth in cancer patients in a clinical trial. (see study).
2. Oil pulling with coconut oil is a great way to improve moisture in the oral cavity.
– Certain Foods
Consumption of these foods leads to bad breath:
– Fermented Foods
– Tobacco, etc.
1. Avoid eating these foods.
2. Maintain proper oral hygiene
General Remedy for Bad Breath:
Apart from improving oral hygiene, the most simple solution that also aids in almost all the causative factors mentioned above is Clove.
The Latin name of clove is Syzygium Aromaticum. Key work “aromaticum”- meaning it produces a pleasant aroma.
Simply chewing a clove or two can aid in improving the smell of the breath and healing infections, inflammation, swelling and pain of the oral cavity.
Clove is also known to be:
-Anti-inflammatory (In small quantities)
-Has been used for its Anti-Oxidant, Anesthetic, and Nausea relieving properties.
Therefore, clove may also be useful in the recovery of many of the above-mentioned causes.
Other General Remedies:
– Cinnamon Tea
– Mint leaves (Peppermint or Spearmint)
– Ginger tea
Caution: Clove can cause local irritation in some people.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.