As a dentist, and an oral care expert, I am constantly being asked about cures for bad breath. Some are more out-there than others. While there are many so-called cures for halitosis, are they really effective? Here are some that you might find interesting and are definitely worth noting.
I’m a big believer in using specialty breath-freshening products to bust bad breath. These include rinsing with an odor-neutralizing mouthwash, gently using a tongue scraper and having an oral probiotics regimen. But can chewing roots or herbs be a natural halitosis cure? The notion that herbs can help cure bad breath has been around for a long time and it’s totally unfounded. Natural herbs and spices such as turmeric, coriander, mint and sage have been used for hundreds of years to freshen breath. While these flavorful fighters help to cover up bad breath, they really don’t address the bacteria that cause it. The journal Internal and Emergency Medicine states that an ancient Egyptian cure for halitosis can be found in the Eber Papyrus which dates back to 1550 BC. What was Greek physician Hippocrates’s suggestion to kill oral odor? This Father of Western Medicine suggested rinsing one’s mouth with anise, dill seeds and wine. Herbal remedies for bad breath aren’t just a thing of the past – you can find many books at your local bookstore that recommend remedies such as eating items to freshen breath that include: celery, parsley, coriander, cabbage and carrots. The book Prescription for Herbal Healing, written by nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch, lists tea tree oil, alfalfa, cat’s claw, hawthorn and grape root to strike oral odor. Are these natural elements a cure for halitosis? While they can help take care of bad breath, long term they won’t affect the bacteria in the oral cavity, so halitosis will reoccur. The best bet to neutralize bad breath at its source it to use oral care products that address the volatile sulfur compounds that cause it. However, there’s nothing wrong with snacking on some crisp fruits and vegetables to help the process along – just be sure to brush afterwards so you don’t give oral microbes more to eat and thrive.