Top Ten Worst Home Remedies For Bad Breath

Dec. 20, 2002
List ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Bad breath is one of the most embarrassing and most annoying problems to have. If not treated properly, beastly breath could interfere with your work life, social life and not to mention, sex life.

"One of the most common misconceptions is that halitosis is caused by the foods you eat," said Gordon Douglass, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Periodontology. "Actually, bad breath can be caused by the sulfur compounds released from our digestive process."

Anaerobic bacteria that live within the surface of the tongue and throat break down proteins in food, blood and diseased oral tissue. When these bacteria come in contact with certain amino acids in proteins, sulfur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat causing your yuck mouth.

While many manufacturers promote home remedies to tame the beast, they only mask the problem or have the potential to cause more harm. The only way to rid yourself of the beastly breath is to find its source.

"The only full-proof way of eliminating halitosis is to see your periodontist or dentist to determine the cause," said Douglass. "There could be many factors at play, such as gum disease, a dry mouth or certain medical conditions."

He added, "Many home remedies exacerbate the problem or are just temporary fixes. You should see a specialist to determine the most effective treatment."

The American Academy of Periodontology asked its members for the most ineffective home remedies their patients have used to tackle yuck mouths.

*Excessive use of mouthwash. Produces sloughy, stinky tissue that is worse than what your breath is already like.

*Breath mints. A sweet smelling mouth doesn't mean a healthy mouth. Long-lasting sugar candies subject teeth to acid attacks, increasing your risk for cavities.

*Chewing gum. Chewing gum can increase salivary flow, but only masks bad breath. Try drinking water throughout the day instead.

*Mint chew tobacco. Smokeless tobacco causes gums to recede and increases the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place, and more importantly, causes oral cancer.

*Infomercial Items. Only use items that have the ADA Seal of Approval. Unapproved items could do more harm than good.

*Vodka martinis or sour mash whiskey. Alcohol may further the problem by making your mouth dry, whereby saliva is unable to remove oral bacteria.

* Brushing with cleanser. Many chemicals used for household cleaning are poisonous and should not be consumed ? this is one of them.

* Intestinal cleansing methods. Bad breath does not originate from the stomach. Actually, anaerobic bacteria in your mouth produce smelly sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.

*Rinsing with kerosene. Talk about putting your mouth on fire!

*Tongue piercing. Anything that allows you to harbor more bacteria on your tongue, like tongue jewelry, increases your chance of bad breath.