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Home Remedies for Bad Breath

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 09/05/2023

Bad breath can have many causes, but it’s most often linked to microbial overgrowth, gum disease, or tooth decay.  

Discover why oregano oil is one of the best home remedies for bad breath and learn how to eliminate odor-causing bacteria to achieve fresh breath fast. 

Woman with bad breath

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can have several underlying causes, such as the presence of microbes in the oral cavity, sinus infections, poor oral hygiene, or metabolic changes.

According to a study published in The Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, halitosis is a widespread issue that affects more than 50 percent of the general population. 

Here are common causes of halitosis.

Microbial overgrowth 

Microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and candida yeast, can proliferate in the oral cavity and accumulate on the tongue, mouth, and throat.

Several species of these potentially harmful microorganisms release volatile sulfur compounds responsible for foul-smelling breath.

Factors linked to an increased risk of oral bacterial growth include:

Watch the video below to learn how to use oregano oil to effectively kill bacteria and fight bad breath. 

Poor oral health 

Lack of consistent oral hygiene can lead to impacted food particles and plaque buildup, which provides an ideal environment for microbes to thrive and flourish.

Infrequent brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning also increase the risk of periodontal disease, a leading cause of bad breath.

In addition, using alcohol-containing mouthwash can imbalance the oral microbiome linked to microbial overgrowth and increased release of foul-smelling sulfur compounds.


Developing bad breath after starting a high-fat diet like keto isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it may indicate that you are doing keto right.    

During ketosis, your liver breaks down fat to generate energy, which releases large amounts of ketones, natural acids that are an effective fuel source for your cells.

“Acetone, a primary ketone, has a slightly sweet and fruity smell and can cause temporary changes in body odor, including the breath,” says Dr. Berg. “This explains why keto breath is a common side effect of starting a high-fat diet.” 

Keto breath and other keto flu symptoms typically don’t last long and go away once your body becomes fat-adapted.

Bottle of oregano essential oil

Home remedies for bad breath

While the occasional garlic breath can easily be fixed with gum or alcohol-free mouthwash, persistent halitosis can cause social discomfort and affect confidence in interacting with others. 

Luckily, there are several effective natural remedies that help combat bad bacteria, promote a healthy mouth, and freshen breath instantly. 

Here are three home remedies to tackle bad breath.

1. Oregano oil 

There are several impressive benefits of oregano oil

Its potent antimicrobial properties can help remove odor-causing bacteria, fungi, and yeasts while stimulating healthy bacteria in the mouth to thrive.

You can make your own alcohol-free mouthwash by adding a few drops of oregano oil to a cup of water and using it twice daily to promote oral health and freshen your breath. 

Alternatively, small amounts of oregano oil can be used to make delicious salad dressings, infuse cooking oils, or enhance the flavor of stews and soups.   

Other aromatic essential oils, such as peppermint and tea tree oil, also possess antibacterial properties that help prevent oral health problems and foul smells caused by microbial overgrowth.

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda

2. Homemade antimicrobial mouth rinse 

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, a natural acid found effective in fighting bad breath.

Research published in Antimicrobial Agents confirms that acetic acid has antimicrobial properties that can eradicate and prevent existing bacteria from proliferating, thereby lowering the risk of microbial overgrowth and bad breath. 

Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted with water and rinse your mouth for 20 to 30 seconds twice daily to eliminate nasty bad breath

If you don’t enjoy the sharp taste of apple cider vinegar, you can make a baking soda mouthwash instead to freshen your breath. 

Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of warm water and gargle the solution for 20 seconds to eliminate microbes and get rid of bad smells. 

3. Increase saliva production

Drinking green tea, keeping your body hydrated, and regularly eating bitter foods such as parsley and endive helps encourage saliva production, which is a key aspect of oral health.

Keeping your mouth moist plays a crucial role in preventing bacterial buildup associated with bad breath.   

You can also chew gum on keto if your bad breath may be linked to starting a high-fat diet. 

Choose sugar-free gum and opt for brands that contain xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol that helps get rid of bad keto breath.   

Oral examination

When to see a doctor

Most cases of bad breath can be managed with natural remedies and good dental hygiene. 

However, persistent cases of bad breath that don’t improve despite antimicrobial remedies and regular brushing and flossing may indicate a more serious health issue, such as gum disease, acid reflux, diabetes, or kidney problems.  

If you suffer from bad breath and experience symptoms such as bleeding gums, toothache, or frequent urination, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider to evaluate potential underlying causes and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

 Woman checking her own breath

Key takeaways

Most cases of bad breath are caused by an overgrowth of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. 

While halitosis typically isn’t a serious medical concern, it can cause awkward social interaction and affect confidence.

There are several effective home remedies for bad breath, including using oregano oil mouthwash or diluted apple cider vinegar mouth rinses and drinking green tea to help eliminate microbes linked to foul-smelling breath.


1. How can I get rid of bad breath quickly?

Most cases of bad breath, also known as halitosis, are linked to an overgrowth of odor-causing microbes in the mouth.

Practicing good oral hygiene and using natural antimicrobial remedies are effective strategies to promote oral health and can get rid of bad breath quickly.


2. What are the best home remedies for bad breath?

Using homemade mouthwash containing oregano oil, rinsing your mouth with diluted apple cider vinegar, and chewing gum containing xylitol are among the most effective natural remedies that help eliminate bacteria responsible for foul-smelling breath.

3. What gets rid of really bad breath?

Oregano oil is a potent natural antibiotic that’s effective at killing several bacterial strains, fungi, and yeasts linked to bad breath.

Mix a few drops of oregano oil with water and use it as a mouth rinse twice daily to combat microbes and achieve fresh breath quickly.

4. Does apple cider vinegar eliminate bad breath?

Yes, using diluted apple cider vinegar as a mouth rinse can help clear up bad breath. 

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, a natural acid that has been found effective in eliminating oral bacteria that produce sulfur compounds, the leading cause of halitosis.

5. How can I permanently get rid of bad breath?

Good oral hygiene and a natural antimicrobial mouthwash containing oregano oil or apple cider vinegar promote oral health and reduce the risk of microbial overgrowth and bad breath.  

6. What drink kills bad breath?

Drinking green tea and lemon water can stimulate salivary production, which helps eliminate odor-causing bacteria, yeasts, and fungi within the mouth.

7. Is oregano oil good for bad breath?

Yes, oregano oil is an excellent remedy for bad breath due to its potent antimicrobial properties that help kill oral microbes linked to bad breath.

8. How does oregano oil fix bad breath?

Oregano oil contains thymol, a potent antiseptic polyphenol that can help manage microbial overgrowth in the mouth. 

Thymol damages bacterial cell membranes and triggers microbial death. This promotes a healthy oral microbiome and helps you achieve fresh breath fast. 


9. What is halitosis?

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is an unpleasant mouth odor.

Halitosis can have several causes, including poor oral hygiene or microbial overgrowth that releases sulfur-containing compounds linked to bad breath. 

10. What causes keto breath?

Keto breath typically develops during the early stages of keto adaptation and is caused by rising levels of acetate, a ketone released when your body burns fat for energy. 

Acetone has a distinct sweet and fruity aroma and can cause changes in body odors, including the breath. As your body adapts to using ketones as a primary fuel source, keto breath usually clears up by itself.

11. How long does keto breath last?

For many people, keto breath disappears within the first week or two.

In some cases, it can take a little longer for the body to adjust to the keto diet as it depends on factors such as your metabolic flexibility, the nutrient density of your meals, and your previous dietary habits.

12. Why doesn’t mouthwash get rid of bad breath?

Mouthwash only helps temporarily mask bad breath by providing a sensation of freshness. 

However, mouthwash doesn't address the underlying causes of bad breath, such as microbial overgrowth or gum disease, and as a result, it’s ineffective at getting rid of bad breath.

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