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10 Natural Ways to Freshen Your Breath

Looking for easy, natural ways to fight bad breath throughout the day? These ten remedies will leave you feeling fresh and confident, even with the office close-talker.

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Health Care: Woman checking her breath with her handPhoto: Shutterstock / CHAjAMP

Bad breath: It’s embarrassing, sometimes easy to miss, and tends to linger–especially if your diet is to blame (hello, Garlic Lover’s Chicken). Looking for ways to improve your breath for the long haul? Here are the top totally natural bad breath remedies for freshening your breath so it will stay pleasant even after the mints wear off.

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Spiced apricot teaTaste of Home

Trade in Coffee for Green Tea

Okay, you can still have a cup of java in the morning, but then trade in your caffeine fix for green tea or a similar tea alternative. These teas smell far better than stale coffee, and their smell doesn’t linger on your breath the same way coffee does. So it’s an easy way to prevent bad office breath.

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young woman who makes a heart shape by hands on her stomach.Photo: Shutterstock / chombosan

Try Probiotics

Look in your local health food aisle for recommended probiotic capsules—or eat yogurt and kefir that have active cultures. Probiotics are basically “good” bacteria that your gut needs to function and digest properly. An imbalance in your gut bacteria can lead to foul breath as well as breath odors that last longer. Take them over time for better long-term results (they might just help you look younger, too).

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Rainbow of cut up vegetables

Snack on Crunchy Vegetables

Crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery and the ones in this veggie salad are, of course, great for you and make excellent additions to many daily meals. But they also have another benefit: When you eat them, they help dislodge bits of food and plaque from around your teeth, diminishing causes of bad breath until you can get to a toothbrush for a more thorough cleaning.

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Close-up of baking soda in a glass jar.Photo: Shutterstock / Geo-grafika

Rinse with Baking Soda

Let’s say you’re on a road trip visiting the best doughnut shop in every state (coffee required), and there’s no time to brush between stops. Try this trick instead: Keep a packet of baking soda on you, mix it with a little water, and rinse your mouth with it. Baking soda is excellent at neutralizing sources of smelly breath (yes, you can swallow it if you don’t have anywhere to spit).

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Fresh green mint leaves in a bowlPhoto: Shutterstock / Anna Kurzaeva

Chew on Mint

Yes, you could grow some mint and harvest leaves every day to chew on, but that’s a little work, and people might look at you strangely when you eat leaves. Instead, look for snacks that feature mint, or make minty foods of your own. Mint remains a great breath cleanser because it acts immediately and stays for a long time.

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Paprika dry rubPhoto: Taste of Home

Break Out the Spices

Many spices have anti-microbial properties and can help naturally freshen your breath if you include them in your lunch dishes. Popular options include cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds, coriander and anise seeds. Many of these spices are also fragrant and can help mask bad breath odors.

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Eat Citrus After Meals

Whether it’s a slice of lemon, lime or orange, eating meals with citrus or including citrus as a palate cleanser can help control bad breath. Your digestion gets a boost from their natural acids, and citrusy foods also help stimulate your saliva. That may sound weird, but it’s a great way to wash away bits of food and neutralize stinky residue. Eat citrus in moderation: Too much acid from the fruit can hurt tooth enamel.

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Close-up Of A Girl Cleaning Her Tongue With ScraperPhoto: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

Use a Tongue Scraper

The cause of bad breath is often bacteria lingering on the tongue (especially if your last brushing session missed them). Use a tongue scraper to thoroughly clean your tongue and then rinse with water. It only takes a minute, and you can use a spoon or similar tool in a pinch, making this a great emergency option.

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Used and replacement new toothbrush bristles macro close upPhoto: Shutterstock / Audrius Merfeldas

Replace Your Toothbrush

Is your toothbrush causing bad breath? Possibly! Bacteria can hide inside your toothbrush and cause problems over time, and even rinsing it off isn’t guaranteed to get rid of it all. Plus, over time your toothbrush will lose the ability to effectively scrape away plaque from your teeth. Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head regularly.

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Glass of water with lemonAhanov Michael/Shutterstock

Drink Lots of Water

How much each day? A lot! Water has benefits for your skin, eyes, general health–and your breath. A well-lubricated mouth can more easily fight off stinky bacteria, and water also helps wash away food particles that you may not know are hidden away around your teeth. It has to be water, though: Sports drinks and similar alternatives could make things worse.

T. Lacoma
I have owned a freelance writing business for the past three years, writing a variety of articles on finance, technology, environmental issues, home repair and other topics.