Beating Bad Breath Naturally

Is your breath leaving a bad taste in your mouth?

Before you go into hiding, there are some quick fixes at home that could help you in a pinch.

Dr. Jennifer Jablow, a dentist in Manhattan, has some suggestions.

If you don't have access to a toothbrush or toothpaste, your best bet is to keep your mouth extremely moisturized, Jablow advised.

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"A dry mouth can actually produce bad breath because saliva has enzymes that wash away products in mouth that are left after you drink or eat something," she said. "Water is really great with a spritz of lemon or lime."

Jablow also recommended sucking on a piece of hard sugar-free candy because it stimulates saliva. Gum or hard candy with the ingredient xyledol, a sugar substitute, is best for teeth and gum health and will stimulate salivary flow.

Parsley comes in handy for absorbing odors caused by onions and garlic. The herb is high in chlorophyl, which can help absorb bad aromas, Jablow said.

She warned that there are some so-called home remedies that should be avoided.

"I don't recommend sucking on a lemon or lime wedge because as refreshing as that may be at first, there is such a high acid content in that it will eat away at the enamel of your teeth," Jablow said.

And don't use baking soda as a substitute for toothpaste. It can be extremely abrasive and will eat away at your enamel also, she said.

Some bad breath may need more than a quick fix.

"Bad breath can be a signal that there is something wrong in the gums," Jablow said. "Plaque can produce smelly sulfa compounds. If that is not removed professionally twice a year (it) sits and kind of harbors and calcifies on the tooth."

Her best tip for fighting bad breath — a regular trip to the dentist.