The most common way people look to get rid of bad breath is with mouthwash or mints. It’s important to consider the most commonly known bad breath causes are imbalances in mouth bacteria.
The good news is that with lifestyle changes and natural remedies, you can get rid of bad breath naturally.
I recommend that you try all the approaches in this article to cure bad breath.
However, if your bad breath persists, you need to see your dentist. They will then investigate the cause of your bad breath.
The oral-systemic link can help us identify the root cause of our bad breath. Bad breath can be a sign from the mouth that you have a disease or condition elsewhere in the body. If your condition persists you will need to see a general practitioner.
Let’s explore the causes of bad breath and the natural remedies that can cure it.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #1: Warm Salt Water Rinse
A salt water (saline solution) rinse can prevent the buildup of infectious bacteria in the mouth or throat. The effect is probably due to salt water’s slight acidity. This prevents the ‘alkalizing’ environment that encourages the growth of microbes that cause bad breath.
Salt water is a great, simple home remedy for bad breath.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #2: Zinc
Zinc is an important trace element your body. It’s estimated that over 300 cellular functions, including your DNA, use zinc. This includes the microbiome, including mouth and gut flora.
However, while more studies are needed, zinc seems to stop the build-up of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that can cause bad breath.
You can try a zinc mouthwash or chewing gum to treat your bad breath. Zinc gluconate and zinc citrate have also been shown to have a small effect on oral plaque build-up.
Zinc supplements are thought to help improve immune function too and may help to rebalance the microbiome.
For the common cold, doses range from 4.5-24 milligrams of zinc (gluconate or acetate) in the form of lozenges. These are taken every 1-3 hours for 3-14 days or until symptoms resolve. Always check with your health practitioner before taking higher doses of zinc.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #3: Digestive Enzymes
Your bad breath may be caused by your digestive system. If you have digestive problems and suffer from bad breath too, digestive enzymes may help your digestion.
Digestive enzyme products come from different sources.
The most common are:
- Animal-sourced — including pancreatin sourced from ox or hog. This can include betaine
- HCL with pepsin
- Bromelain and Papain are digestive enzymes contained in pineapple
- Other plant-sourced — from probiotics, yeast, and fungi
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #4: Cinnamon Chewing Sticks
Cinnamon is known to have antimicrobial action. It’s also proved effective against bacteria that cause oral infections in some studies. Cinnamon is also thought to have thought to have digestive and respiratory benefits, although more research is needed.
Cinnamon chewing sticks also contain fiber that supports microbial diversity in the mouth.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #5: Green tea
Research has found that green tea temporarily reduces malodor due to its antibacterial and deodorant action. This is probably due to the actions of the polyphenols, antioxidants it contains.
You can try drinking 3-5 cups of green tea per day or taking a polyphenol EGCG supplement.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #6: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a natural antifungal and antibacterial plant extract. Research has shown it’s as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing plaque. It also boosts the creation of collagen, improving the mouth’s ability to heal.
You can make your own Aloe Vera mouthwash to combat bad breath. Simply boil some water and add aloe Vera gel once it is cooled. You can also add peppermint oil to taste.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #7: Prevent oxygen deprivation
There are two important links between bad breath and lack of oxygen.
- Mouth breathing and oxygen deprivation
Your body isn’t designed to breathe through your mouth. It’s designed to breathe through your nose.
Your nasal passages are specially designed to release nitric oxide. This increases blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the cells. In contrast, mouth breathing pulls cold, dry air to the lungs. A lower amount of oxygen is to delivered to your body. Mouth breathing can also reduce saliva flow and allow unwanted microbiota into your mouth and throat.
It’s quite common to breathe through our mouths during sleep. However, many people, especially children, also breathe through their mouth during the day.
If you experience ‘morning breath’ – or bad breath that only occurs on waking – you probably sleep with your mouth open. One way to alleviate this is to train your body to breathe through your nose. You can also use a strip to keep your mouth closed at night to make sure you breathe through your nose.
If you struggle to breathe through your nose, you should consult a sleep specialist, dentist or ENT doctor. They can conduct a full sleep and breathing study.
Nose Breathing Exercise: Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth, behind your front teeth. Breathe in through your nose, making your belly rise. Breathe in for 3 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds. Do this for 2-3 minutes daily.
- Anaerobic bacteria and oxygen deprivation
Bad breath is most commonly caused by anaerobic bacteria in your mouth. These bugs thrive in the absence of oxygen, producing chemicals that cause bad breath.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) can increase your oxygen intake.
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal and pure oxygen is administered. Under these conditions, your lungs absorb far more of the pure oxygen than they would at normal pressure.
Hyperbaric oxygen is known to help gangrene, skin and bone infections and non-healing ulcers. At present, research is limited and mainly confined to sports injuries. However, we know that bacteria that produce bad breath compounds thrive in mouth crevices where oxygen can’t reach.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #8: Hydration
Drink more water. Hydration will help maintain saliva flow and keep your mouth moist, discouraging bacterial growth.
Cut down on diuretics. Diuretics such as coffee, black tea, and alcohol increase fluid loss and may cause dry mouth.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #9: Oral hygiene
Stop nasty bacteria from building up on your gums and teeth.
Oral hygiene. Regular oral hygiene, including interdental cleaning with floss, will help to prevent bad breath.
Brush your tongue. The bacteria that cause bad breath are often found on the topside of your tongue. If you can see a white coating on your tongue, you should remove this debris with a tongue cleaner.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #10: Exercise
Daily exercises help to increase your ventilation and circulation rate. This helps to increase cellular turnover throughout your body.
Exercise has also been shown to be good for maintaining microbiome health. This may help to manage harmful bugs that cause bad breath.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #11: Decrease your stress
Stress can change your body’s odor.
One natural remedy for reducing bad breath may be to get your stress under control. Bad breath is a sign that both your immune system and microbiome aren’t working the way they should.
Chronic stress can damage your immune system and reduce your ability to respond to your environment. Central to this is your microbiome.
Stress as a cause of bad breath may be due to its ability to cause odor. We know stress increases sweat gland activity. These secretions interact with bacteria in your body to create body odor.
However, stress itself may change your body’s bacteria. Research has shown in mice studies that the microbiome can lose diversity when exposed to chronic stress.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #12: Get good quality sleep and rest
Lack of sleep can negatively affect both your immune system, microbiome and stress response. We also know that sleep helps your immune system to effectively ‘remember’ its environment.
Researchers have also found that your gut microbiome plays a role in your diurnal rhythm. If you have bad breath, it’s worth looking at your sleep patterns and trying to ensure you get enough good quality sleep.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #13: Essential oils
Many toothpaste and mouthwashes claim to kill bacteria that cause bad breath. However, we know little about what these products do to the whole microbiome. Natural products with antimicrobial properties may be more effective in preserving ‘friendly’ bacteria.
Peppermint essential oil
For bad breath, try gargling with peppermint oil, a potent anti-microbial that kills off harmful bacteria and leaves the breath fresh. Mix 1-2 drops with water and swish the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds.
Lemongrass essential oil
Lemongrass has antimicrobial properties that inhibit certain bacteria, both internally and externally. It is also known to be effective against bacterial infections in the colon.
Lemongrass oil may be used as an internal or external preparation. Chewing lemon rind may also be effective.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus oil is well-known for its ability to reduce mucus production. It also boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, and acts as an antioxidant, antimicrobial and pain reliever.
Clove essential oil
Clove oil contains antifungal and antimicrobial compounds that may act against bacteria that cause bad breath and digestive problems.
It’s used as a natural pain reliever, especially for dental emergencies.
You can add a few drops of clove oil to water as a natural bad breath remedy.
Orange essential oil
Cleaning products are often scented with orange due to its anti-odor properties. Orange oil is rich in the antioxidant limonene, which may help to fight bad breath causing microbes.
You can add a few drops of concentrated orange oil to water to make a drink or peel orange rind straight from the orange and chew it.
Consult your dentist before trying these oils as a cure for bad breath, and don’t use them for more than 2-3 weeks. You can try combining them to suit your taste.
Natural remedies to get rid of bad breath #14: Skin Rubs
Your skin microbiome communicates with your oral microbiome. Therefore, rubbing certain pleasant-smelling essential oils on your skin could have a positive effect on your bad breath. You can add these to a bath or add diluted to the skin.
Tea tree oil is well known for its antibacterial properties. It’s especially effective against bacteria that live on the skin.
Lavender oil is another natural anti-microbial oil that will leave your skin smelling fresh. Add a few drops to a damp cloth and dab onto your skin.
Heal your bad breath naturally
Nature is full of compounds that help heal your oral, gut and digestive system. By working these into your daily routine, it is possible to find a natural remedy for bad breath.
Not only are many of these more pleasant to use, they may encourage long-term health of your oral and gut microbiome.
If your bad breath persists, please see your dentist or doctor.
Have a question? Why not leave it in the comment section below.
For more information on Dr. Lin’s clinical protocol that highlights the steps parents can take to prevent dental problems in their children: Click here.
Want to know more? Dr Steven Lin’s book, The Dental Diet, is available to order today. An exploration of ancestral medicine, the human microbiome and epigenetics it’s a complete guide to the mouth-body connection. Take the journey and the 40-day delicious food program for life-changing oral and whole health.
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Sanjay Arora says
Since bad breath is quite a common problem, these natural remedies can really be helpful. Amazing post! Thank you for composing and sharing this extensive list.
Dr Steven Lin says
Yes bad breath is far more common than we think isn’t it? It’s often different in different people so I wanted to make sure there were lots of different options for people to try here.
Thanks for stopping by.
I want to ask u something. what is the best n fast way to cure bad breath? can u pls recommend me just one way or few ways.
Thank you for this. I have tried many things including expensive mouthwashes but most do not work. I have come to the conclusion that diet and exercise can help along with the above natural resources you list. BB is such a devastating socially debilitating condition that at times when people hold their nose you are not 100% sure if its you who is the cause. At this you are limited in engaging with people.
Gaddiel Boe says
It’s so true. BB is a very serious issue that confuses people in handling it. I really need the simplest way in solving this problem
HIMANJYOTI BORA says
Sir I have bad breath problem but after using a liver tonic my problem was gone but after the end of the liver tonic the bad breath problem was again started what should I do now for a long time cureness of the stated problem
Dr Steven Lin says
Digestive problems can be very persistent. If you had bad breath, I would suspect small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). You can get breath tests that specifically test the gut. https://www.drstevenlin.com/gut-breath-the-digestive-system-and-bad-breath-causes/
You will also want to get checked for H.pylori infection (happens in both digestive system and mouth) Also have your IgG food intolerance test done if possible and check your vitamin D status.
Probiotics may also assist.
Hope this helps!
Dr Steven Lin
As always, a very interesting article.
My husband and I enjoy improved sleep since using micro pore tape to tape our mouths at night. It took only a couple of nights to get accustomed to it. We started doing so after reading Patrick McKeown’s books – he is an international teacher of the Buteyko method.
Jessica Lawrence says
I have bad mouth smell since few yearr on and off ..butpresently it is there sinsce 10 days…if i keep calm observing my breath it will reduce …pl do help me in knowing the cause for this bad smell…
Dr Steven Lin says
I would search for a digestive source Jessica: https://www.drstevenlin.com/gut-breath-the-digestive-system-and-bad-breath-causes/
Sir, I’m facing Bad breath problem since a long time but I ignored it and thought that it will be cured with time. But it didn’t n it is worsening with time.Even I feel bad taste in mouth.Few days ago I visited a dentist and he said u r having gum problem n I had a treatment but still nothing has changed.So what shld I do?
I have been suffering for a long time with bad breath, I have tried everything. I tested positive for Hplori, and rec’d treatment 4 different times. Hplori is not going away and my Doctor is refusing to order the antibiotics again. I recently started digestive meds, Hoepfully they help. Do you know anyone who body is resistant to the meds for Hplori, and what should I do? Thanks for the advice
kaise kare says
I lost the sense of taste as a result of case of pneumonia in early December. I have not lost all sense of smell which gives me hope that I may recover some taste. I will try the suggested remedies.
Dr Steven Lin says
Thanks for sharing! Good luck Kaise
Ganesh Palve says
How to stop producing white Debris on top of toung buds.
Also I am on anti-depressants medications hence always acidity happening so how would I overcome on this issue?
Usama Azam says
One of my friends is facing the problem of bad breath. He has tried many things to get rid of it but failed. Should he consult a dentist or keep trying some other ways?
Interesting article. There are too many mouth freshener in the market. Fresh metlz is one of the best fresh breath strips.freshmeltz strips are India ‘s first oral hygiene fresh breath strips.
Am also facing the same kind of problem, i always brush my teeth twice daily but still things kept unchanged which make me feel shy in public. I need help please
Check Digestive Sources:
Hope this helps!
i need ur help doctor,am experiencing bad breathe for years,but everyday d problm became worst.i normally washed my teeth 3 times aday but still .i need your help sir,because am really disturbed.need Advice n medication.can please tell me a medicine or tablet that can cure d situation.if i talk my mouth smell as if its a gotter or toilet
Sorry to hear this. Here is an article that explores all the known causes of bad breath beyond the mouth.
Testing options available: https://www.drstevenlin.com/9-steps-to-cure-bad-breath-and-professional-testing-options/
You can also consider a probiotic regime: https://www.drstevenlin.com/probiotics-and-the-oral-microbiome-2/page/3/
Hope this helps!
Sidney Mashiloane says
Hi Dr Lin
please advise, the bad bacteria protect themselves from mouthwashes by hiding deep inside the biofilm/ plaque on the tongue. What chemicals can i use to destroy the biofilm and thus expose the bacteria ?
Dr. Jacob King says
I understand your problem fully because I had gone through such a period in my college years. You can only imagine how having a bad breath can incapacitate you not only socially but also professionally especially when you are studying to become a medical doctor. Luckily, I understood early on that all these “say bye to bad breath in a minute” type of articles all over the web are nothing but a cheap and irresponsible means of manipulating desperate people to market certain products which usually are unhelpful. The only way to treat your bad breath is to get to the core of the problem and identify accurately every factor contributing to the condition. This means, you will need evaluation not only by a dentist but also by both your family physician/internist and an ENT expert. (Most of the cases of bad breath that don’t respond to oral hygiene measures are causes by conditions like ENT disorders including tonsillar and sino-nasal pathologies whose only manifestations may be the generaion of bad breath).
John Carter says
This is a great post. I like this topic.
I have had ASTHMA my whole life but about 7 years ago my asthma got so bad and was diagnosed of EMPHYSEMA/COPD which was most likely due to the asthma. I was on double antibiotics and steroids, still didn’t feel any better. It was hell for me due to the severe difficulty breathing. April 2016 my sister in-law told us about Rich Herbs Foundation where she ordered herbs that effectively treated her arthritis. We ordered the COPD herbal treatment after reading positive reviews, i am happy to report this COPD herbal treatment effectively treated my lungs condition. My quality of life has greatly improved and every one of my symptoms including difficulty breathing and wheezing are gone. Their official web page is ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. I will be 52 soon and have never been healthier
I’ve been trying salt and I’ll see how it goes. My biggest problem is a white-coated tongue. Everytime I clean it, it just grows right back within a few hours. All I drink is water and I brush my teeth, floss, and clean my tongue two times a day. It’s difficult to talk about because bad breath is associated with not taking care of yourself (people assume I don’t brush my teeth).
Allen Gotora says
A dry mouth is one of the most common causes of bad breath. Sipping water throughout the day will keep the tissues moist and prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth is often caused by certain medications so you might want to look at the side effects of any prescriptions you take on a regular basis. If you’re at work, it can be hard to find time to brush your teeth or use mouthwash. Chewing gum keeps your mouth hydrated and your breath fresh.
Cinnamon leaf is a tried and true easy way of getting ready or bad breath. To use it boil some cinnamon leaf in some water, pour in a cup, add a little sugar and drink as tea. This not only cleans your breath but it relaxes you as well and has other great health benefits.
I have bad breath from my younger stage.I have been using mouth wash for sometime but still and I feel like my throat too give bad phlegm.Dr.please can you help me.
I have bad breath and that makes me embarrassed, to be honest, I brush my teeth once in the morning!
I need help!
Check Digestive Sources:
Hope this helps!
Tim Yaotome says
I find it awesome that you said that chewing cinnamon sticks can maintain a mouth’s microbes and fight against bacteria that cause oral infections. Learning about this gave me a great idea on how to help my sister prepare for her first date. I will have her try cinnamon tea as a homeopathic remedy to give her fresh breath and keep her teeth healthy.
Dr. Naila says
Amazing job Dr. Steven Lin!
Very informative and sure helpful as halitosis is such a common complain by every second person …
Keep sharing such informative things to maintain oral health …
LOHANA SENNA says
Very good indeed, helped me a lot your post for sure the best I found, thank you
John Mori says
My cousin has been suffering from bad breath and I told him all about your post and somehow, it is kind of helping him now.
Key Features of Driver Tonic says
This World is full of genius.
Your Blog is awesome dear.
thanks for your awesome tips, appreciate them.
I started taking antidepressants some weeks ago and i noticed recently that my breath smells bad. It’s there anything I can do to stop this?
Thanks for information
it was helpful
Laurabel Sajulga says
Thank you doc. for sharing this article!!!
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Hi Khursheed Parray!
Thanks for your support! Hope this helps!
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Thanks for your support! Hope this helps!
Susan Gonzales says
So I have been having this continuous bad breath for at least over 1year now. I went through a process of elimination. Fixing my teeth all cavities getting teeth cleaned checking my gums, then going to an EMT, I was given antibiotics and nasal sprays. I found a few tonsil stones if there are any more they are not visible to me. I’ve tried vinegar, baking soda, lemon water, so many mouthwashes and to no avail still bad breath. So now I’m thinking about my gut. I really don’t know, I could really use some help.
Really desperate as my job is a card dealer and I am constantly in the proximity of others to smell my breath. Sometimes it is so foul that I see the customer cover their noses or gag. It is very hard to go to work and embarrassing. Please HELP!!!!