Remedy You Can Try at Home to Eliminate Bad Breath


Some people are convinced they have bad breath when their breath is completely neutral…


Some people are convinced they have bad breath when their breath is completely neutral. Others have terrible breath and don’t know it. It can be hard to smell your own breath, let alone judge its odor.

Ask someone you trust to give you an honest opinion — sometime in the middle of the day, and not right after polishing off a tuna sandwich with extra onions.

If your suspicions are confirmed and your breath is problematic, don’t worry. There are many home remedies that can eliminate bad breath. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Bad breath typically originates in the mouth, where bacteria are ever present. When you eat, bits of food get caught in your teeth. Bacteria grow on these bits of food, releasing foul-smelling sulfur compounds.

The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss often, the bacteria in your mouth continue to grow, and a thin film of bacteria known as plaque builds up on your teeth. When plaque isn’t brushed away at least twice per day, it produces a foul odor and leads to another smelly process, tooth decay.

All foods get stuck in your teeth, but certain foods like onions and garlic more commonly lead to bad breath. Digestion of these foods releases sulfur compounds into your bloodstream. When the blood reaches your lungs, it affects your breath.

Although more than 90 percentTrusted Source of bad breath cases originate in the mouth, occasionally the source of the problem comes from elsewhere in the body. It may be a result of acid reflux, which leads to the partial regurgitation of foul-tasting liquid. Other possible causes include infections, diabetes complications, and renal failure. Starting a new diet, such as the keto diet, may also bring about a certain breath odor.

Good dental hygiene

According to research studiesTrusted Source, poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath. Preventing plaque buildup is the key to maintaining a healthy mouth. You should brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice per day (morning and night).

Some people find that brushing after every meal is necessary to prevent decay and bad breath. To prevent bacteria from growing on bits of food stuck in your teeth, floss at least once per day.

Bacteria can also accumulate on the tongue, causing a foul smell. A practice known as tongue scraping can help you remove this thin layer of film. Using your toothbrush or a specialized tongue scraper, brush or scrape your tongue at least once per day. Learn more about why you should be brushing your tongue.


Parsley is a popular folk remedy for bad breath. Its fresh scent and high chlorophyll content suggest that it can have a deodorizing effect. StudiesTrusted Source(not done on human breath, however) have shown that parsley can effectively combat foul sulfur compounds.

To use parsley for bad breath, chew on fresh leaves after each meal or buy a parsley dietary supplement here.

Pineapple juice

Many people believe that pineapple juice is the quickest and most effective treatment for bad breath. While there is no scientific evidence to back up this theory, anecdotal reports suggest that it works.

Drink a glass of organic pineapple juice after every meal, or chew on a pineapple slice for one to two minutes. It’s also important to remember to rinse your mouth of the sugars in fruit and fruit juice afterward.


ResearchTrusted Source shows that mouth dryness often causes bad breath. Saliva plays a very important role in keeping your mouth clean. Without it, bacteria thrive.

Your mouth naturally dries out while you sleep, which is why breath is typically worse in the morning.

Prevent dry mouth by keeping your body hydrated. Drinking water (not caffeinated or sugary drinks) throughout the day will help encourage saliva production. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day.


Yogurt contains healthy bacteria called lactobacillus. These healthy bacteria can help combat bad bacteria in various parts of your body, like your gut.

Research shows that yogurt may also help reduce bad breath. A study found after six weeks of eating yogurt, 80 percent of participants had a reduction in bad breath. Probiotics in yogurt are effective in reducing the severity of bad breath.

To use yogurt to fight bad breath, eat at least one serving per day of plain, nonfat yogurt.


Milk is a well-known cure for bad breath. ResearchTrusted Source shows that drinking milk after eating garlic can significantly improve “garlicky” breath.

To use this method, drink a glass of low- or full-fat milk during or after a meal containing strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.

Fennel or anise seeds

Since ancient times, fennel and anise seeds have been used to freshen breath. In parts of India, roasted fennel seeds are still used as “mukhwas,” or mouth fresheners, to cleanse after-dinner breath. They taste sweet and contain aromatic essential oils that give the breath a fresh scent.

Fennel and anise seeds can be eaten plain, roasted, or coated with sugar.


Oranges not only make for a healthy dessert, but they also promote dental hygiene.

Many people have bad breath because they don’t produce enough saliva to wash away foul-smelling bacteria. Research shows that vitamin C helps increase saliva production, which can help eliminate bad breath. Oranges are rich in this vitamin.


Zinc salts, an ingredient in certain mouthwashesTrusted Sourceand chewing gumTrusted Source, can counteract bad breath. Zinc works to decrease the number of sulfurous compounds in your breath. ResearchTrusted Source has shown that regular rinsing with a solution containing zinc can be effective in reducing bad breath for at least 6 monthsTrusted Source.

Try a zinc chewing gum designed for people with dry mouth. You can also find zinc dietary supplements at your local drug store or purchase them online here.

Green tea

Green tea is an effective home remedy for bad breath. ResearchTrusted Source shows that green tea has disinfectant and deodorizing properties that can temporarily freshen the breath. Mint has similar effects, so a cup of green mint tea may be an ideal breath freshener.

Brew two cups of tea before going to bed and refrigerate it overnight. Pour your cool tea into a water bottle and bring it to work. Slowly sip on it throughout the day. Purchase green mint tea here.


One studyTrusted Source found that raw apples have a powerful effect against garlic breath. Certain natural compounds in apples neutralize the foul-smelling compounds in garlic. This is particularly useful for people whose garlic breath lingers, because it neutralizes the compounds in the bloodstream, rather than just deodorizing the mouth.

Homemade mouthwash with baking soda

StudiesTrusted Source have shown that baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth. ResearchTrusted Source indicates that toothpastes containing high concentrations of baking soda effectively reduce bad breath.

To make a baking soda mouthwash, add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water. Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Homemade mouthwash with vinegar

Vinegar contains a natural acid called acetic acid. Bacteria don’t like to grow in acidic environments, so a vinegar mouthwash may reduce bacteria growth.

Add 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. Gargle for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Most bad breath originates in the mouth and can be treated with improved dental hygiene.

In some cases, however, bad breath is a sign of a more serious condition such as diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure, or an infection.

If your bad breath isn’t improving with home treatment, consult your doctor or dentist.

Chlorophyll is the chemoprotein that gives plants their green color. Humans get it from leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach. There are claims that chlorophyll gets rid of acne, helps liver function, and even prevents cancer.

Another claim is that the chlorophyll in a shot of wheatgrass can stave off bad breath and body odor.

Is there any scientific evidence to back this up? Are you really getting what you’re paying for when you buy a chlorophyll supplement or a shot of wheatgrass at the health food store?

“There was a study conducted back in the 1950s by Dr. F. Howard Westcott, which showed that chlorophyll can help combat bad breath and body odor, but the results of that research have basically been debunked,” says Dr. David Dragoo, a Colorado physician. 

There hasn’t been any research since to support that chlorophyll has any effect on body odor, though some people continue to use it.

“The National Council Against Health Fraud says that since chlorophyll cannot be absorbed by the human body, it can therefore have no beneficial effects on folks with halitosis or body odor,” Dragoo explains. 

Other widely circulating claims are that chlorophyll can ease symptoms related to arthritiscystic fibrosis, and herpes. But again, Dragoo doesn’t buy it. “As far as factually verifiable research, there is no truth to the fact that chlorophyll can be effectively used to treat those illnesses,” he says.

Vegetables rich in chlorophyll, such as leafy greens, have plenty of health benefits on their own. Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, and the author of “Eat Your Way to Sexy,” says that the lutein found in leafy greens, for example, is great for the eyes.

Even without scientific evidence, Somer says it’s fine for people to think chlorophyll is good if it causes them to eat more vegetables. 

Somer also affirms that no scientific evidence exists to support chlorophyll’s deodorizing properties. The suggestion that it reduces breath, body, and wound odor is unsupported. It’s obviously still a widely held belief, she notes, given the post-meal parsley that restaurants use to garnish plates.

The health benefits of chlorophyll for humans are disputed. However, chlorophyll might just be what the doctor (or veterinarian) ordered for our four-legged friends. 

Dr. Liz Hanson is a veterinarian in the seaside town of Corona del Mar, California. She says that chlorophyll does offer health benefits, especially to dogs. 

“There are many health benefits of chlorophyll. It helps cleanse all the cells of the body, fights infection, heals wounds, helps to build the immune system and replenish red blood cells, and detoxifies the liver and digestive system,” she says.

Hanson said that chlorophyll also definitely helps with bad breath in dogs, which don’t tend to eat vegetables. “One of the most important ways that our pets benefit from chlorophyll is that it both treats and prevents bad breath from the inside out,” she says. “It also improves digestion, which is the most likely cause of bad breath, even in dogs with healthy teeth and gums.”

You can purchase flavored chew treats containing chlorophyll at pet stores or online. Perhaps you should stick to mints if it’s your own breath you want to keep fresh.

8 Tips to Get Rid of Garlic and Onion Breath

Everyone gets bad breath sometimes. Many things, from the foods you eat to underlying health conditions, can cause bad breath (halitosis). Two of the most potent culinary offenders are garlic and onions, especially when eaten raw.

Onions and garlic are members of the allium family. They’re similar in composition and contain many of the same sulfur compounds.

Sulfur compounds give foods their distinctive flavor. They also release distinctive gasses when cut or mashed and mingle with gas-emitting bacteria, causing scented breath. 

Garlic and onion can continue to cause bad breath for hours after a meal. As part of the digestive process, their byproducts are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs, giving bad breath an encore. 

But bad breath is no reason to avoid garlic and onion. Their health benefits are worth it, and it’s possible to counteract their smelly effect.

If you’re having a particularly garlic-heavy meal, eat apples for dessert or chew on fresh mint leaves

One studyTrusted Source indicated that the chemical makeup of raw or heated apples, lettuce, and mint helped deodorize garlic breath. Hot green tea and lemon juice may also help.

Much of the bacteria that causes bad breath lives below the gum line and in plaque buildup on teeth. Brushing and flossing after eating onions or garlic can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria as well as food residue.

Using an electric toothbrush can help you to brush below the gum line and reduce plaque. This keeps breath fresher for a longer period of time. It’s also helpful to gently brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue, as far back as a toothbrush will go.

For on-the-go situations, try keeping floss that fits in your wallet. Buy flosscards online.

There’s some scientific evidenceTrusted Source that mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are effective for bad breath.

Chlorine dioxide can help remove plaque, tongue-coating bacteria, and food particles. This is the same ingredient used to purify and improve the taste of outdoor water when camping. 

Mouthwash usually works best after brushing and flossing. It’s also important to note the instructions on the bottle to avoid overuse or mouth irritation.

Essential oils can be added to alcohol-based mouthwashes. In addition to freshening breath, some also have antibacterial properties. You can also make your own homemade mouthwash with essential oils and a carrier oil (coconut, sweet almond, or olive).

Essential oils with proven benefits for eliminating bad breath include:

Swish 1 teaspoon of carrier oil with a drop of peppermint oil in your mouth to help get rid of food particles, bacteria, and odor. You can purchase food-grade oils at grocery stores or online. Be sure to watch out for added sugars.

Buy peppermint oil online. 

Bacteria also thrive and multiply on the back of the tongue where your toothbrush can’t reach. A white tongue can indicate dead cells, microscopic food particles, and bacteria. 

Tongue cleaners, such as tongue brushes and scrapers, can help you reach the very back of your tongue. They’re also effective for removing odor-causing residue. 

To use a tongue scraper, start at the back of your tongue and gently scrape forward. This will bring the white residue to the front of your mouth. Continue to rinse and repeat this process until there’s no visible residue on the scraper.

You can use a tongue scraper daily or after eating meals containing garlic or onion.

Buy a tongue scraper online.

Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can be a great strategy to keep bad breath at bay.

This is partially because a dry mouth can increase the production of sulfur, which can lead to bad breath. It can also prevent dehydration and ensure that you’re able to produce enough saliva.

Plus, drinking water or other fluids can also help rinse your mouth to remove any lingering food particles or bacteria, both of which can contribute to odor.

Drink a hot cup of green tea after a meal to temporarily reduce odor until you can get to the bathroom to brush your teeth.

In one 2014 studyTrusted Source, 15 participants used a green tea catechin mouthwash and found it comparable to antiseptic mouthwash for antiplaque effectiveness. According to another review of studiesTrusted Source, green tea was able to reduce bad breath and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Chewing spearmint gum can temporarily neutralize garlic breath. It also may reduce acid reflux, which can diminish the lingering effects of garlic and onion after digestion. 

Garlic breath doesn’t last forever, even if its effects tend to linger.

Plan ahead if you feel like you might be at risk for garlic- or onion-heavy breath. For example, you can avoid eating an onion bagel for breakfast before a job interview.

Alternatively, you can experiment with these home treatments to see which one works for you and take the one that does the trick.

What Does Bad Breath Have to Do with Diabetes?

Your breath has an interesting ability to provide clues to your overall health.

A sweet, fruity odor can signify ketoacidosis, an acute complication of diabetes. An odor of ammonia is associated with kidney disease. Similarly, a very foul, fruity odor may be a sign of anorexia nervosa. 

Other diseases, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and liver disease, also can cause distinct odors on the breath.

Breathing tests may even help doctors identify diabetes. Research from 2021Trusted Source has shown that measuring carbon dioxide in the breath might help identify prediabetes or early stage diabetes.

Diabetes-related halitosis has two main causes: periodontal disease and high levels of ketones in the blood.

Periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases, also called gum diseases, include gingivitis and periodontitis. In these inflammatoryTrusted Source diseases, bacteria attack the tissues and bone that support your teeth. Inflammation can affect metabolism and increase your blood sugar, which worsens diabetes.

Though diabetes can lead to periodontal diseases, these diseases can also create further problems for people with diabetes. 

According to a 2013 report, about 1 in 3 people with diabetes also experience periodontal diseases. Heart disease and stroke, which can be complications of diabetes, are also linked to periodontal disease.

Diabetes can damage blood vessels, reducing blood flow throughout your body, including your gums. If your gums and teeth aren’t receiving a proper blood supply, they may become weak and more prone to infection.

Diabetes may also raise glucose levels in your mouth, promoting bacteria growth, infection, and bad breath. When your blood sugars are high, it becomes hard for the body to fight infection, making it harder for the gums to heal.

If someone with diabetes develops periodontal disease, it may be more severe and take longer to heal than a person without diabetes.

Bad breath is a common sign of periodontal disease. Other signs include:

  • red or tender gums
  • bleeding gums
  • sensitive teeth
  • receding gums


When your body can’t make insulin, your cells don’t receive the glucose they need for fuel. To compensate, your body switches to burning fat. Burning fat instead of sugar produces ketones, which build up in your blood and urine.

Ketones can also be produced when you’re fasting or on a high protein, low-carbohydrate diet, although not to the same level as in diabetic ketoacidosis.

High ketone levels often cause bad breath. One of the ketones, acetone (a chemical found in nail polish), can cause your breath to smell like nail polish.

When ketones rise to unsafe levels, your chances for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) increase. Symptoms of DKA include:

  • a sweet and fruity odor on your breath
  • more frequent urination than typical
  • abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • high blood glucose levels
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • confusion

DKA is a dangerous condition, mostly limited to people with type 1 diabetes whose blood sugars are uncontrolled. If you have these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Along with neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and other concerns, periodontitis is a common complication of diabetes. But you can delay gum diseases or lessen their severity. Here are some daily tips to consider:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily.
  • Don’t forget to brush or scrape your tongue, a prime breeding place for foul-smelling bacteria.
  • Drink water and keep your mouth moist.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels in their target range.
  • Use sugar-free mints or gum to stimulate saliva.
  • Visit your dentist regularly and follow their treatment recommendations. Make sure the dentist knows you have diabetes.
  • Your doctor or dentist may prescribe a medication to stimulate saliva production.
  • If you wear dentures, ensure they fit well and take them out at night.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting.

What does diabetic breath smell like?

If a person cannot manage their blood sugar levels effectively, they could develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). One symptom of DKA is fruity breath due to high levels of acetone in the body. Also, other factors can cause bad breath.

What does it mean when a person with diabetes has bad breath?

A fruity smell on the breath can be a sign of DKA. A smell of ammonia can indicate kidney disease, a common compilation of diabetes. Halitosis, or bad breath, can be a sign of gum disease. 

How do you get rid of diabetic breath?

DKA requires urgent medical attention. If you think you have kidney disease or gum disease, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Managing blood sugar levels can help prevent complications that lead to bad breath. 

Other tips include regular brushing and flossing, drinking plenty of water, and following a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in added sugar.

Bad breath may be a sign of something more. If you have diabetes, it’s essential to be aware of what your breath may be telling you. Your understanding may save you from advanced gum disease or the dangers of DKA.



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