(NaturalNews) "Let not the breath of your mouth be sour and unpleasing, nor... offend the nose." Sound like something you might say to a spouse, friend or coworker? Actually, that sentiment was written more than 2,000 years ago by the Greek poet Ovid, clearly demonstrating that the offensive odor of bad breath has been a problem plaguing humankind for quite some time.
Pretty much everyone has dealt with bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives, but that doesn't mean that we have to just put up with it. If you're bothered by halitosis, either occasionally or on a regular basis, these natural bad breath cures can help battle the underlying causes, so you -- and your friends and colleagues -- can breathe easy:
Keep a clean mouth. Brush your teeth and gums when you get up in the morning, after meals and before you go to bed at night, and don't forget to use floss to remove food particles that are lodged between teeth. Even tiny particles can provide a food source for bacteria which release sulfurous compounds that cause stinky breath. Don't forget to brush or scrape your tongue too.
Consider using a mouthwash that contains essential oils. Essential oils are derived from plants, and some oils like tea tree have antibacterial properties that can help you battle bad breath naturally. Other options to consider: peppermint and lemon oils. Many health food stores offer mouthwashes and other dental products featuring essential oils as an active ingredient.
Rinse your mouth with apple cider vinegar. This acidic product has lots of uses around the house and as a natural remedy for multiple ailments, including bad breath. How does it work? By increasing the acidity in your mouth, it creates an environment that halitosis-causing bacteria just don't like. It can also help kill bacteria and germs that can cause sore throats and other ailments.
Get rid of stress. Studies have shown that stress can increase the volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that are one of the root causes of smelly breath. (1) Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing are good options to reduce stress and promote better oral and overall health.
Chew fennel seeds. Not only does fennel have its own naturally sweet smell, but like apple cider vinegar, chewing the seeds promotes an environment inside your mouth that bacteria just don't like. Unlike vinegar, though, chewing fennel seeds actually causes your mouth to become more alkaline. (2)
Don't care for fennel seeds? How about clove or cardamom? Seeds form both of these plants have been used for centuries in the Middle East to freshen breath. In addition to contributing their own natural sweet smell, cloves and cardamom also have natural antimicrobial properties to fight harmful bacteria and reduce plaque.
Drink green or black tea. Both black and green tea contain powerful plant-derived antioxidants called polyphenols that have been shown to decrease the sulfur compounds that cause breath to smell bad as well as destroy other harmful compounds that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Added bonus: Drinking tea has also been linked with a decreased risk for both heart disease and cancer.
The problem of bad breath is as old as humankind, but just because it's a common, age-old concern doesn't mean that you need to suffer from it. There are lots of natural remedies that you can use, all of which are affordable, and many of which are as close as your spice shelf or kitchen cabinet. Try adding one or two to your regular routine and start feeling more confident about your fresh-smelling breath and clean, healthy mouth.