How to Get Rid of Bad Breath (Halitosis): Scientifically Proven Home Remedies

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath (Halitosis): Scientifically Proven Home Remedies

Bad breath (halitosis) is an embarrassing problem that can cause social awkwardness, embarrassment, and anxiety. Remedies for bad breath help reduce the number of bacteria and germs in your mouth that can be causing your breath to stink. Natural ways to get rid of bad breath include a saline mouth rinse, baking soda mouthwash, and practicing good oral hygiene.

In some cases, to cure bad breath you need to address any stomach or oral issues you may have. If gastrointestinal problems are the cause of halitosis, then probiotics, digestive enzymes, or activated charcoal can help permanently resolve bad breath. Chewing peppermint gum, drinking plenty of water, or rinsing with baking soda can all help to freshen breath, at least temporary.


If your bad breath is a result of a gum disease, go to see your dentist. Gum disease is a common cause of bad breath and a dentist will be able to advise a suitable treatment.

If you wonder why your breath smells bad all the time, this article will help you understand the reasons for bad breath. You will also learn about some of the best natural bad breath cures.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Common causes of bad breath (halitosis)

Halitosis is the medical name for unpleasant odors from your mouth, in other words – bad breath.

Researchers say that the main causes of bad breath originate in the mouth, not in the stomach. Usually, a buildup of bacteria and other microorganisms cause breath to develop a malodor. Halitosis can be the result of poor diet, bad oral hygiene, or underlying dental or health problems. (1)

Some bacteria can cause sulfuric compounds to form in the mouth that make your breath smell like rotten eggs.

The journal BMJ reports that plaque on the teeth and tongue can result in gum disease and inflammation. This can create an environment where bad breath becomes a chronic problem. (2)

Another cause of bad breath can be a dry mouth (xerostomia). Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that saliva has a cleansing action in the mouth that helps rinse bacteria from the teeth and gums. Dry mouth conditions are usually the cause of bad breath in the morning, or “morning breath.” Also some medications can indirectly cause dry mouth, contributing to bad breath. (3)

Of course, certain foods are known to cause bad breath because they give off strong odors after consuming them. Doctors say that foods such as onions, garlic, coffee, cheese, and fish are among the worst culprits for causing breath that stinks. (4)

Smoking is also a common cause of bad breath. Doctors say that smoking leads to dental problems such as bad breath and increased risk of gum disease. (33)

Causes of bad breath from your stomach

Sometimes halitosis is a result of problems with your gastrointestinal system. However, this accounts for just 10% of the reasons why people suffer from persistent bad breath. (1)

The reasons why you have bad breath that comes from your stomach can include acid reflux, having an upper respiratory infection, or digestive issues. (5)

Although not in the stomach, tonsil stones can also cause bad breath. Learn more about tonsil stones and how to remove them to get rid of halitosis.


How to Get Rid of Bad Breath: The Best Home Remedies for Halitosis

Let’s look in more detail at some natural treatments you can use to cure bad breath.

It is good to remember, that persistent bad breath or constantly having a bad taste in your mouth could be a sign of periodontal (gum) disease. In these cases, many of the bad breath remedies here will only be a temporary solution until the gum disease is treated.

At the end of the article, you will find out when you should see a doctor or dentist for bad breath that doesn’t go away with natural remedies.

Good Oral Hygiene to Prevent Bad Breath

One of the most important ways to cure bad breath and help ensure your breath smells fresh every day is to clean your teeth properly.

According to the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 90% of bad breath occur due to poor oral hygiene such as oral cavity, gum disease, tongue coat and unclean dentures. (34)

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, cleaning your tongue, regular flossing, and using a plaque-reducing mouthwash are just some of the recommended ways to practice good oral hygiene.

Researchers say that keeping your mouth and teeth clean prevent bad breath and many other dental problems. Dentists say that brushing alone is not enough to eliminate bad breath. It is just as important to clean your tongue to remove sulfur compounds from your mouth and eliminate smelly breath. (23)

Flossing between your teeth also helps to remove debris and other bits of leftover food that can rot and cause problems with bad breath. (23)

Find out if you are making any of these common teeth-brushing mistakes.

Salt Water Rinse to Help Cure Bad Breath

Rinsing your mouth with a saline rinse is a cheap and easy way to kill off bacteria that can cause smelly breath.

The European Journal of Dentistry reported in 2015 that a salt water rinse can help to kill off oral streptococci strains of bacteria. One clinical trial involving children found that rinsing with saltwater twice a day resulted in fewer bacteria in the oral cavity. Researchers also noted that tongue brushing also helped to eliminate odor-forming bacteria from the mouth. (6)

Make your own saline mouthwash to combat bad breath

You can easily make your own saltwater mouthwash for bad breath. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish the saline solution around your mouth for a minute to kill off bacteria and help freshen your breath.

Learn how a saline mouthwash can help treat gum infections naturally.

Aloe Vera as a Bad Breath Remedy

Another way to help stop your breath smelling bad all the time is to use aloe vera for its antibacterial properties.

Aloe vera is a well-studied plant that is used to treat wounds, kill off infections, and reduce inflammation.

A 2016 systematic review found that aloe vera is useful for treating a number of oral conditions. Aloe vera is good for treating dental conditions such as gum inflammation, oral lichen planus, burning mouth syndrome, and oral candida. (7)


One study found that aloe vera mouthwash was as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in reducing the number of plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth. (8)

How to use aloe vera to kill bad breath

You could put some aloe vera gel on your toothbrush and brush your teeth for a few minutes to help reduce plaque. Or, you could dab some aloe vera gel on inflamed parts of your gum to help speed up the healing process.

You can also make your own aloe vera mouthwash to treat bad breath. Mix a teaspoon of aloe Vera gel in a glass of warm water and swish around your mouth to freshen your breath and kill off bacteria.

Find out how to use aloe vera and other natural ingredients to remove plaque and prevent gum disease.

Green Tea to Help Cure Halitosis

Regularly drinking green tea or using green tea as a mouthwash can help to remove oral bacteria and reduce bad breath.

Scientific research has revealed that antioxidants in green tea are effective against a sulfide compound that is linked to halitosis. Researchers found that green tea extracts can help to reduce malodor from the mouth. (9)

Other studies have shown that oolong tea contains antimicrobial properties that are effective against Streptococcus mutans – a strain of bacteria responsible for many dental problems. (10)

Because consuming green tea is good for your dental health, some researchers suggest consuming a cup of green tea with your meals. This helps to improve the microbiota in your mouth and may help prevent bad breath after eating. (11)

Digestive Enzymes to Treat Bad Breath from the Stomach

If your bad breath is caused by problems with your digestion, then taking digestive enzymes can help to eliminate bad breath for good.

Although it is not common, halitosis from gastrointestinal problems can be the result of Helicobacter pylori infections or acid reflux. Researchers have found that addressing digestive issues can often resolve bad breath problems. (12)

The journal Current Drug Metabolism reports that taking digestive enzymes can help to improve the symptoms of a number of digestive complaints. (13)

Although the research didn’t mention H. pylori specifically, researchers noted that digestive enzymes can help manage many digestive disorders, some of which have been linked to halitosis. (3)

Probiotic Supplements to Stop Halitosis

Taking probiotics may be one way of getting rid of the root cause of your bad-smelling breath.

The reason that probiotics can help some people get rid of bad breath for good is that they help treat stomach ulcer infections. Researchers have found that around 90% of people with an H. pylori infection (the bacteria that causes gastric ulcers) have bad breath. (14)

Many studies have shown that some probiotic strains are useful in treating H. pylori infections.

A systematic review published in 2017 found that certain probiotic strains may help treat halitosis. After reviewing the results of many studies into the effect of probiotics on bad breath, scientists concluded that there is enough evidence to recommend Lactobacillus strains of probiotics for managing halitosis. (15)


Learn more about the many reasons to take probiotics and how they can strengthen your immunity.

Charcoal for Stomach Bad Breath

Taking activated charcoal is another way to fix bad breath that comes from your stomach.

Some people have a disorder called trimethylaminuria which causes a distinct fishy odor from the mouth. Researchers have found that consuming activated charcoal can help eliminate fishy breath odors. (16)

Did you know that you can also use activated charcoal toothpaste to whiten teeth and remove harmful plaque? Learn more about the benefits of using activated charcoal to address a number of health issues.

Chewing Herbs

If consuming foods such as garlic and onions has resulted in bad breath, you can try chewing on certain herbs to help mask the smell of bad breath.

Researchers have found that chewing herbs such as mint, holy basil, and curry leaves can help stimulate saliva that acts as a natural mouthwash after eating. An increase in saliva helps to reduce acidity and prevent the formation of plaque. (17)

Researchers also found that green herbs that are high in chlorophyll contain compounds that help to treat halitosis and lower oral bacteria. (17)

You can try chewing on some parsley leaves, mint leaves, or basil leaves after a meal to quickly help freshen breath and prevent bad odors from your mouth.

Cinnamon May Eliminate Bad Breath

Cinnamon is a natural antibacterial spice that also benefits dental health because it helps eliminate plaque and bad smells.

Cinnamon has been used for centuries to treat oral infections and eliminate bad breath. In fact, cinnamon is added to certain types of chewing gum to freshen breath. Recent scientific research has backed up many of the traditional claims of using cinnamon as a breath freshener. (18)

Research published in 2017 found that cinnamon essential oil can protect the oral cavity against bad breath-related bacteria. Scientists discovered that compounds in cinnamon destroy strains of bacteria that cause halitosis. The study found that cinnamon products can help to control bad breath without any toxic effects. (19)

Other studies have shown that cinnamon is also antifungal and can kill off strains of oral candida. (20)

Add 4 drops of cinnamon essential oil to a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and brush your teeth. Spit out and don’t swallow. In my article “Why You Should Start Using Coconut Oil as a Toothpaste” you can also find a recipe for coconut oil and baking soda toothpaste.

Or you can buy cinnamon chewing sticks online to reduce bad breath and support oral hygiene.

Learn more about the amazing therapeutic uses of cinnamon and cinnamon essential oil.

Zinc Can Help Get Rid of Bad Breath

Zinc is an important mineral in your body and one that is also connected to having fresh breath and good dental health.

Some studies suggest that having enough zinc in your body helps to prevent a buildup of sulfur compounds in your mouth. In one study, patients who took lozenges containing zinc had less sulfuric gasses in their breath. (21)

Sulfuric odors are one of the reasons why your breath may smell of rotten eggs.


You could try taking zinc lozenges to help get rid of bad breath quickly. There is also some evidence that zinc may also help reduce the length of time you have a cold infection. (22)

Having bitter taste in the mouth could be just one of the signs that you suffer from a zinc deficiency.

Essential Oils as a Natural Breath Freshener

There are many essential oils that have antibacterial properties along with a refreshing scent that can help to quickly get rid of bad breath.

Here are 4 examples of essential oils that are good for bad breath.

Peppermint essential oil. One study involving high school students found that regularly rinsing with a peppermint mouth rinse helped to resolve halitosis in a 1-week period. (24)

Cinnamon essential oil. As already mentioned, cinnamon essential oil is antimicrobial and has a proven effect in killing off bacteria that cause bad breath. (19)

Lemongrass essential oil. A 2015 study on the benefits of lemongrass essential oil found that rinsing the mouth with lemongrass oil helped to reduce oral malodor. Also, the number of plaque-forming bacteria were lower after the lemongrass mouthwash. (25)

Tea tree oil. Many studies point to the antibacterial effect of tea tree oil in treating many oral diseases. One such study found that rinsing the mouth with a tea tree oil solution can help to cure bad breath by destroying oral bacteria. (26) You should not ingest tea tree oil because it is known to be poisonous if swallowed.

How to use essential oils to get rid of bad breath

To make the best mouthwash for bad breath, add 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to a glass of warm water. Mix well and swish around your mouth as you would a regular mouth rinse. Spit out after using.

It is important to remember not to swallow any of the mouthwash containing essential oils.

Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Bad Breath

You can also use the antibacterial effect of hydrogen peroxide to eliminate bad odors originating from your mouth.

Research published in 2016 found that rinsing the mouth with 1.5% hydrogen peroxide helped to reduce bacteria that can lead to gingivitis and gum inflammation. Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash was just as effective at maintaining dental health as chlorhexidine mouthwash. (27)

Some studies have shown that mouthwashes containing antibacterial agents such as hydrogen peroxide help to remedy bad breath. (28)

How to use hydrogen peroxide as a remedy for bad breath

Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with equal parts of water. Use as a mouth rinse for 30 seconds 3 times a week before brushing your teeth.

Baking Soda Mouthwash for Bad Breath

You can also make a mouthwash to eliminate bad breath using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

A review of 5 clinical studies revealed that baking soda is an effective natural ingredient to remove plaque from teeth. The plaque removal effectiveness of baking soda was significantly greater than the non-baking soda products. (35)

According to another study, baking soda has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help reduce infections. (36)

Since baking soda is alkaline, it neutralizes the acids in the mouth, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

How to make your own baking soda mouthwash

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water. Swish the baking soda mouth rinse around your mouth for 30 seconds and spit out.

Drink Plenty of Water to Help Avoid Halitosis

If you feel that you constantly have bad breath, then it is important to make sure that you drink enough water.

Researchers have found that a lack of fluids in the body can cause the saliva in your mouth to become thicker. This fluid deficiency can cause odors from your mouth to be more concentrated and smell bad.

You can find out about the dangers of dehydration and why you should aim to drink around 2 liters of water daily.

Avoid Foods that Cause Bad Breath

Because most of the causes of bad breath originate in your mouth, you should avoid consuming foods that are known to make your breath stink.

Researchers say that consuming sulfur-containing foods such as garlic and onions can make your breath smell for many hours. Highly-spiced foods can also give your breath a distinct unpleasant whiff. (2)

How can you eliminate bad breath from foods you have eaten?

The Journal of Food Science reports that drinking milk is effective in eliminating bad breath caused by eating garlic. To prevent garlic causing bad breath, the study found that you should drink milk before eating garlic. (30)

Other studies have suggested that eating parsley, spinach, mint, or raw apple can help to neutralize the smell of garlic breath. (31)

When to See a Doctor

In some cases, the only way to get rid of bad breath permanently is to see your doctor or dentist.

If you have tried many of the home remedies for bad breath in this article and your breath still smells, visit your dentist for a checkup. Your dentist will check over your dental health to look for signs of gum disease or tooth decay. (32)

If bad breath is accompanied by sores in your mouth, pain when chewing, white spots on your tonsils, or a fever, then you should see your doctor. (4)

If you have started taking medication and notice that your breath smells, then check if halitosis is a side effect of your medication.

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