From time to time, everyone experiences bad breath - whether it's caused by food or our overall health. There's no miracle cure-all food that will knock halitosis out for good, but munching on fresh produce instead of chips or crackers can do wonders for the breath. Fruits and vegetables can counteract the foul smell that is produced by bacteria in your mouth, and scrape away plaque that causes gingivitis. Similarly, having a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables will prevent gastrointestinal issues. Many also believe spices like mint, parsley, sage, basil, cinnamon and oregano have similar capabilities that kick halitosis.
Cranberries are the token fruit deemed as the cure for bladder infections because they help move bacteria in the body that could otherwise be wreaking havoc. These similar principles make cranberries an ideal fruit to beat bad breath. Eating cranberries or drinking a glass of pure cranberry juice can rinse away bacteria that build up on the teeth. Drinking sugar-free juice is important for individuals trying this method because sugar feeds the bacteria that cause halitosis, which could defeat the purpose of drinking it.
"Celery, carrots and apples are high in vitamin C," Dr Michael Apa told She Knows, "which prevents gum disease and gingivitis and kills odor-causing bacteria. These fiber-rich fruits and vegetables help fight halitosis."
Munching on a stick of celery is one of the best natural ways to fight halitosis, according to the book Healing Foods. The natural fibers and somewhat abrasive nature of celery scrapes away odor-causing plaque on your teeth. It can also help get rid of bacteria that sits on the back of the tongue and causes halitosis. While eating celery is by no means a replacement for brushing your teeth, it can help in situations where you are stuck without a toothbrush. Carrots and apples have similar properties to cleanse the teeth, and also help to produce saliva.
Raisins may seem like an ideal item to flag, but a phytochemical called oleanolic acid helps to remedy bad breath-causing bacteria. According to a study by researchers at the Chicago College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the acid halted the growth of two strains of oral bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease and bad breath. However, these sweet and sticky treats can do damage if there is fructose or glucose added to them for taste.
When dining out your water will often be paired with a fresh slice of lemon, which can be used to zap bad breath in a jiff. Simply bite on the lemon and swish it around your mouth, as you would with mouthwash. Although it's not a good idea to make this a regular habit because the acid eats away at the tooth's enamel, it can be an on-the-go option in dire situations. Citrus causes the mouth to produce saliva, and the strong taste will naturally keep your mouth feeling fresh.
Did we mention to drink your water?
Along with the importance of eating well, drinking plenty of water works wonders to keep your breath fresh. A dry mouth virtually traps bacteria in nooks and crannies of the mouth and along the back of the tongue. These bacteria, if not washed away by food or water, wreak havoc on the entire mouth. Consuming an estimated eight to 10 glasses of water - which varies on each person's lifestyle, climate and weight - can help keep the mouth moist throughout the day and your breath fresh.