It is first important to understand what is causing your bad breath in the first place. Here are some probables:
Build-up of bacteria in your mouth. These emit odorous gases such as sulfur and other gases that cause the foul odor.
Food trapped in the tonsils.
Disorders such as diabetes, liver disease, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory tract infections.
Not properly cleaned dentures.
Brush and floss after every meal. Reduce caffeine intake. Quit smoking. Cut back on alcohol. Don't miss the dentist appointment. Watch what you eat.
Here's a list of foods that would help prevent bad breath, or halitosis, and maybe even cure it.
Red bell pepper is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies work by creating an inhospitable environment for the bacteria to flourish in the mouth. These foods also prevent gum disease, another source of bad breath.
Broccoli, melons, and other citrus fruits
are other such vitamin C rich foods.
Fight bad breath with a daily serving of yogurt. A study published in the Journal of Dairy Science revealed that daily serving of yogurt reduces the level of hydrogen sulfide, one of the bad breath gases.
Moreover, yogurt helps fight digestive problems that can cause halitosis. It is also a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can cause dental and gum infection leading to gingivitis, which is again one of the most common cause of bad breath. Vitamin D foods are also good halitosis cures. Actually, milk and milk products are all very good sources of vitamin D, but yogurt specifically is better placed as far as halitosis is concerned.
Go easy on strong cheese like the Roquefort or blue cheese though. They create bad odor in the mouth and don't let go. Other milk products too can have the same effects.
Crunchy foods like raw carrot and apple slices
act as abrasives that help loosen trapped food particles from the mouth. And carrots are known for their vitamin A. So munch on a carrot whenever you suspect you have bad breath.
It's not just the root that is beneficial, even the carrot tops can help with bad breath. The World Carrot Museum in UK suggests chewing carrot leaves can heal injuries in the mouth, cure bad breath, and prevent gum bleeding and mouth ulcers.
Spinach, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, whole grains
contain zinc. Research shows that zinc can reduce the level of volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) that cause the bad breath. This is because zinc ions bind to the precursor compounds that anaerobic bacteria require to make VSC's.
Although, oysters and red meat are the best sources of zinc, these foods could cause you bad breath. So why use them to control bad breath!
Skip sugary candies and go for sugarless gums. 'Sugary candies promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and add to bad breath problems. Instead, chew sugarless gum. Gum stimulates saliva, the mouth's natural defense mechanism against plaque acids which cause tooth decay and bad breath,' says Dr. Himanshu at Grace Dental Clinic, Gurgaon, India.
Further, sugarless gums that are sweetened with xylitol are more effective because xylitol is known to inhibit mouth bacteria.
Green herbs contain chlorophyll, a known deodorizer. Fresh parsley or a strong mint is often an effective way to fight temporary bad breath, according to the experts at National Institutes of Health.
Parsley is a great source of vitamin C. One tablespoon of fresh parsley (4g) contains 5mg of vitamin C, strong enough to show anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Simply chew on a few sprigs of parsley and say bye to bad breath. If that's too much for you, use it in tea. Steep 2 tablespoon of fresh parsley in 2 cups of water, strain, and get rid of bad breath by drinking it.
These are widely available herbs. Coriander, mint, rosemary, tulsi, curry leaves
and other such herbs not only fight halitosis but aid in digestion too. Dental experts from India say that tulsi could destroy more than 99 percent of the germs responsible for plaques, gum disease, and bad breath.
The normal pH of saliva is 6.8. Tooth decay, cavities and other such conditions result when the pH decreases below that level. In one of their studies, Gayathri Ramesh and her colleagues found that herbs such as tulsi, mint, rosemary, etc. acted by increasing the pH of saliva immediately on consuming these herbs and keep it stable even hours later.
Spices such as clove and cardamom seeds are good halitosis fighters. Chew on these spices after meals. They will refresh your mouth and fight bad breath bacteria as well.
The terpenes, esters, and flavonoids present in these aromatic spices have antibacterial properties.
For example, cineole, the active component of cardamom oil, is an antiseptic known to kill bad breath bacteria and other infections. Further, chewing cardamom stimulates saliva flow and the fibrous outer coat act as abrasives in cleansing the teeth.
Drinking green tea is another effective way to control bad odor. In a joint study, researchers at University of British Columbia, Canada, and Nippon Dental University, Japan, found that disinfectant and deodorant activities of green tea catechin (polyphenols) inhibited the growth of many different kinds of microbes that cause malodor in the mouth. However, the effect was only temporary since they didn't find positive results after 3 hours of green tea intake. But something is better than nothing. So sip away; green tea has other health benefits as well.
Water is a cleansing agent that flushes out food particles stuck in the mouth. Again, the more water you drink, the more saliva is produced; and saliva is known to fight bad breath.
Drink at least eight cups of water a day. Ensure that your mouth is wet and moistened at all times. If your mouth gets too dry, your breath will stink.