Bad breath is an embarrassing issue to have, but it may seem like a fact of life to some. If you can’t figure out why it’s happening to you, you may struggle to fix it.

Bad breath is typically caused by bad bacteria that grow in your mouth, especially in areas such as on the back of your tongue and on/around your tonsils.

But as you may have discovered, using a chemical-based bacteria-killing mouthwash can have negative effects as well, such as dry mouth and even increased tartar. Fortunately, you have other options. Here are some natural products you can try to reduce or eliminate bad breath.

1. Saltwater Rinse

Saltwater can help to decrease the replication of bacteria, although it doesn’t kill them all outright. Because the odors are caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria, saltwater rinses may help. Saltwater is also soothing, so it’s great if you have a canker sore. To combat bad breath, try using a simple saltwater rinse several times a day.

2. Bee Propolis

Bee propolis, or bee glue, has a lot of fascinating properties. Bees use it to plug up gaps, and it’s definitely glue-like (be careful not to get it on your teeth unless it’s dissolved in a water-soluble solution). But it also has antimicrobial properties, which makes it great against bad bacteria in the mouth.

Propolis is also great for your gums (possibly due to the antibacterial effects). You can add propolis to your toothpaste or a natural homemade mouthwash, or simply buy a propolis-based product such as toothpaste or breath spray.

3. Oral Probiotics

Unlike the previous solutions, which involve attacking the bad bacteria, oral probiotics takes a different tack — putting good bacteria into your mouth. Oral probiotics are different from typical probiotics. They’re formulated with the type of bacteria that can live in your mouth without causing cavities, inflammation, or bad smells.

Typically, these probiotics are in dissolvable pill form, so don’t try swallowing them and expecting to get the same benefits. Oral probiotics may work better for some people than others, and they’re unlikely to work immediately because the good bacteria have to have time to crowd the bad ones out.

4. Coconut Oil

While it may not be the miracle cure some people claim, swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for a few minutes every day may help bad breath because it has mild antimicrobial properties. You can use this remedy in conjunction with others, combined with good overall dental hygiene, for best results.

5. Essential Oils

Essential oils may help boost the antimicrobial activity of a coconut oil rinse or even of your toothpaste when used in the correct dilution because many essential oils have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Remember, though, you must be very careful how you use them. For example, you must dilute them in an oil such as coconut oil before using, and you shouldn’t swallow any oil. Work with a medical professional such as a naturopath to ensure that you’re using the essential oils safely.

6. Tongue Scraper

Many of the bacteria that cause bad breath live on your tongue. Using a tongue scraper to physically remove gunk from the back of your tongue can help keep the smell down.

These are just six natural products that can help you reduce or eliminate your bad breath. You may even be able to combine techniques and products for increased efficacy. Talk to your dentist if you want to learn more about how bad breath works and how to fight it. Contact the office of Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, PA, today to schedule an appointment.