Bad breath, formally known as halitosis or malodor, is bad news. Morning breath can ruin your whole day. But bad breath affects many of us, particularly in the mornings, to varying degrees.
If you’re suffering from bad breath, then take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. According to the Bad Breath Institute, between 35 and 45 percent of the global population suffers from some form of halitosis. In the United States, approximately 80 million Americans suffer from chronic bad breath. And 99 percent of us wake up with dreaded morning breath.
The good news is that there are ways that you can prevent bad morning breath. The trick is figuring out the cause of your bad breath. Even better, there are probably natural treatments for morning breath right in your own home.
4 Main Causes of Bad Breath
There isn’t one cause linked to bad breath. Here are four of the most common causes of bad breath:
Oral sources: A whopping 80 percent of bad breath stems from an oral source, says WebMD. Oral sources include: cavities, gum disease, tonsils harboring food particles, cracked fillings and dirty dentures.
Disease: Diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, chronic bronchitis, acid reflux postnasal drip can negatively impact your breath.
Poor hygiene: If you didn’t brush and floss your teeth properly the night before, then you can expect some serious morning breath.
Dry mouth (xerostomia): Bad breath in the morning is usually linked to xerostomia. Dr. Hugh Flax, a cosmetic dentist and past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in Atlanta, Ga., stresses the important role that saliva plays in battling bad breath to Medical Daily, “During the day, your mouth produces a significant amount of saliva, but while you sleep, saliva production goes down.”
Saliva is key to maintaining naturally fresh breath because it flushes away smelly bacteria. Less saliva, or dry mouth, means that more smelly bacteria and debris can linger in your mouth. Dry mouth can be linked to other diseases and medications.
Sleep: Sleep hugely impacts how fresh your breath will be in the morning. Snoring or breathing through your mouth at night increase dryness and give smelly bacteria the opportunity to grow.
Do You Have Morning Breath?
The first step in preventing morning breath is to determine if you have it. Here are two quick methods that’ll let you know if you have bad breath:
1. Visual: Examine your tongue. Is it pink or does it have a white film? Pink tongues signal fresh breath, while a white film conveys bad breath.
2. Smell: Lick your clean wrist, let it air dry fit a few seconds and take a whiff? Do you smell an odor? If you answered yes, then you’re probably suffering from bad breath.
Natural Remedies for Bad Breath at Home
It’s worth exploring natural cures for bad breath. Seventy-one percent of people suffering from bad breath have considered surgery to stop their halitosis. However, surgery has only bern successful in eliminating halitosis in 3 percent of the cases, explains the Bad Breath Institute.
Try these natural cures to fight bad breath. Fortunately, you probably don’t have to look too far to find them.
Eat breakfast: Breakfast promotes important saliva production first thing in the morning.
Stay hydrated: Water also helps flush out bacteria and debris. Choose water over coffee and sugary drinks that promote bacteria growth.
Oil pulling: This ancient Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil (e.g. coconut, sesame or sunflower) in your mouth (between 10 to 30 minutes) can help prevent and stop bad breath. This technique is believed to “pull” toxins out of the mouth and body. You can also include essential oils to increase the germ-fighting properties of this method.
Eat the rainbow: Fruits and veggies are your best allies in battling bad breath. Choose foods rich in: vitamin C (e.g. citrus, cherries, berries), vitamin A (e.g. sweet potatoes and carrots), vitamin E (e.g. leafy greens) and zinc (e.g. asparagus and pumpkin).
Spice up your life: Incorporating spices like fennel seeds, cardamom, anise, cinnamon and coriander can spice up any dish and stave off bad breath.
Minty fresh: You can keep your mouth in mint condition by including potent herbs like spearmint, peppermint, sage and tea tree in your daily regimen.
Oral health is an indicator of overall health. While these natural remedies could help you eliminate bad breath, they are also key in maintaining overall health. Don’t forget to brush and floss those pearly whites daily.