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Causes of Persistent Bad Breath|26 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Persistent Bad Breath

Bad Breath medically also called “Halitosis” or “Fetor Oris” characterised by the disagreeable odour of the mouth often from the back of the tongue. This odour can be easily recognized from the odour of the mouth by comparing it with the existing odour from the mouth and nose. Halitosis occurs occasionally but it can be a chronic condition. Persistent bad breath is a common problem that affects 1 in 4 people globally which leads to worry, anxiety and significant psychological distress to any human. Generally unhealthy lifestyle, regular poor habits, certain kind of foods and tobacco products can be responsible for persistent bad breath. There are numerous products available in the market to overcome the problem of persistent bad breath or halitosis such as mints, toothpaste and mouthwashes, but in addition to these there are also some very effective home remedy that can help cure persistent bad breath.

Causes of Persistent Bad Breath

Causes of Persistent Bad Breath

The causes of the bad breath are divided into 2 categories that are the physiologic cause and pathologic cause.

Physiological Causes of Persistent Bad Breath

Lack of Flow of Saliva

Saliva helps in the cleansing of the mouth by removing the particle present in the mouth that can cause bad breath odour. But there is less flow of saliva during the sleep so the putrefaction of the retained debris and exfoliated epithelial cells occur which leads to the bad morning breath. This unpleasant odour disappears after the resumption of the normal flow of the saliva in the mouth.


There are certain foods and beverages that produce volatile fatty acids or other stinking substances after metabolism which are excreted by the lungs as a bad breath or odour. Examples of such foods are onion, garlic and alcohol. Studies show that these kinds of food can produce food particles that get stuck in the teeth for a long time and cause an increase in bacteria in the mouth leading to unpleasant odour and persistent bad breath.

Smoking & Chewing Tobacco

Smoking has its own unpleasant odour which causes the same effect on the breath. Some of the particles remain in the mouth after chewing tobacco so people who smoke on a regular basis are more likely to have gums disease and persistent bad breath.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Generally, after eating food, the food particles get stuck in the mouth, and with poor dental hygiene such as not brushing and flossing properly on a regular basis, leads to a buildup of the plaque on the teeth that is a colourless sticky layer of the bacteria which produces an unpleasant odour and persistent bad breath. The tongue can also trap the bacteria responsible for the bad odour in the mouth. Plaque further irritates the gums and form the plaque-filled pockets between the teeth and gums that is called as periodontitis.


It has reported that some of the women have bad breath during their menstruation time probably due to the hormonal changes. But this observation has not been verified yet.

Dentures or Braces

Dentures and braces are one of the common causes of persistent bad breath because the food particles do not get cleaned properly from these appliances. Which is responsible for the increase in bacteria in the mouth that leads to foul odour. If the dentures or braces does not fit properly then it can cause sores and infection in the mouth which causes persistent bad breath.


Pregnancy itself is not a cause of bad breath but the hormonal changes, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, morning sickness and the cravings for eating different food are the factors of causing persistent bad breath during pregnancy.

Pathological Causes of Bad Breath

Oral Cavity Disorders

Disorders or diseases of oral cavity contribute 56% to 85% in causing persistent bad breath or halitosis. Putrefaction of the saliva is one of the major cause of the bad breath. Putrefaction occurs in everyone’s mouth but this condition accentuates in the presence of degenerative and inflammatory disorder. Example of such disorders which is always associated with persistent bad breath or severe halitosis is gingivitis and periodontitis. Following microorganism such as Bacillus subtilus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, coliforms, Clostridium sporogenes and C. histolyticum are responsible for persistent bad breath. Methyl mercaptan and hydrogen sulfide are the main products formed by the bacterial action which leads to bad breath.

Upper Respiratory Tract Disorders

Breathing Through The Mouth: The amount of the saliva in the mouth gets reduced due to the breathing through the mouth which causes bad breath. Hypertrophied adenoids in children, allergic rhinitis and deviated nasal septum can be the precipitating cause of the breathing through the mouth.

Atrophic Rhinitis (ozena): It is the inadequacy of the nasal mucosa to cleanse itself due to the atrophic changes with ciliary destruction which are responsible for the accumulation of dried nasal secretions that become infectious and cause bad breath. Frequent cleansing of the nasal chambers with normal saline reduce the volume of the nasal chamber and reduce the bad breath also.

Carcinoma of the Larynx: Invasive carcinoma of the larynx causes ulcerative and necrotic lesions which become infected by the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria which is responsible for persistent bad breath.

Adenoiditis: In adenoiditis, nasal passages become obstructed so the patient has to breathe through the mouth which causes bad breath. Foul smelling pus is also produced in this condition which is also another cause of persistent bad breath.

Syphilis: Syphilis is the disease that results in the gumma formation which affects the nasal bones and surrounding tissues that result in necrosis and the bad breath or an offensive odour.

Tuberculosis: The cartilaginous septum is affected by the tuberculosis of the nose causes nasal obstruction, septal perforation, crust formation and the bad breath or an offensive odour.

Persistent Bad Breath Cause Due to Lower Respiratory Tract Disorders

Carcinoma of the Lung: It is a tumour that generally occurs in the larger bronchi. This causes the breakdown of the tissue and secondary infection by the action of the anaerobic bacteria which leads to persistent bad breath.

Pulmonary Abscess: Many anaerobic microorganisms are responsible for the lung abscess. Halitosis or persistent bad breath along with the fever, pain and productive cough are the symptoms of the disease which is cured by the appropriate use of the antibiotic.

Persistent Bad Breath Cause Due to Gastrointestinal Conditions

Salivary Gland Dysfunction: Any of the conditions which lead to decrease in the flow of the saliva in the mouth are associated with the halitosis or persistent bad breath such as dehydration, Sjogren’s syndrome and radiotherapy of the head and neck region.

Cryptic Tonsillopathy: In the condition of large tonsils with the prominent crypts the epithelial cells get accumulated and mixed with the saliva is that responsible for the fermentation and putrefaction which results in persistent bad breath.

Systemic Diseases

Any of the systemic diseases which is associated with the dehydration and fever can cause halitosis or bad breath. Some of the systemic conditions produce specific odours such as:

  • Ketoacidosis – Produces sweet and fruity odour
  • Hepatic Failure – Produce the mousy amine odour and the smell of ammonia known as azotemia.

Persistent Bad Breath Caused Due to Drugs and Medication Use

Some of the drugs or medication can alter the sense of the smell and taste which causes subjective halitosis or bad breath. Example of these drugs are lithium salts, nitrates used to treat angina, tranquillizers, chemotherapy chemicals and griseofulvin. Some of the drugs excreted in the breath such as dimethyl sulfoxide also produces an odour of stale oysters.

26 Home Remedies to Cure Persistent Bad Breath

Regular hygiene is the best way to prevent the problem of persistent bad breath but there are so many home remedies available to cure the condition quickly and which works for most of the people. One can try the following home remedies if there is a continuous problem of persistent bad breath or halitosis and if these remedies do not work at all then the person should consult a doctor soon.

Lemon Juice

Lemon rinse has been in use for years as a home remedy to get rid of persistent bad breath. Lemon contains acidic content that prevents the growth of the bacteria in the mouth. It also has a fresh pleasant odour which helps in covering the malodourous smell of the mouth.

Way to Use: Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add it to the 1 cup of water. Salt can also be added to it that is optional. Wash the mouth with this lemon rinse.

This remedy prevents the dryness of the mouth hence the bad breath also.


Fennel has good antimicrobial properties so it acts as a brilliant mouth freshener. It turns to be an effective home remedy to increase the flow of saliva in the mouth and kill the bacteria which is responsible for the persistent bad breath. Fennel also helps in the bloating and indigestion.

Way to use: Take 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds whenever required and chew them. It would vanish the bad breath. Fennel tea can also be used for the same condition which is prepared by steeping 1 or 2 teaspoons of fennel and boil them in a cup of water for 5 to 10 minutes and drink it. Fennel tea should be used a couple of times in a day.


Cloves are the aromatic flower buds which are used in Ayurvedic, Chinese medicine and dentistry for thousands of year due to the presence of biologically active clove oil. It has so many useful actions on the human body. The antimicrobial and antibiotic action of clove makes it a useful home remedy for reducing the bacterial growth in the mouth and so bad breath.

Way to use: Clove has an aromatic aroma so take few pieces of clove and chew them completely which would vanish the persistent bad breath in just a few minutes.


Cinnamon is known as best and instant action source to cure persistent bad breath due to the presence of the organic compound cinnamic aldehyde. It is an essential oil having odour causing antibacterial activity along with refreshing and fragrant aroma to freshen bad breath for the very long time.

Way to use: Take 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon powder and boil it in a cup of water then strain the solution and use it a mouthwash. Bay leaves can also be added to the solution to increase the aroma and properties of the solution.


Parsley is most common herb used for the garnishing along with its various benefits to the health. It is a natural deodourizer due to its strong odour and flavor. It contains ample chlorophyll that can be noted for its deep green color which has antimicrobial property and also antioxidants. Due to these properties, it is an excellent home remedy to remove persistent bad breath.

Way to use: Take few parsley leaves and chew them as it is or it can be soaked in a vinegar for a couple of minutes and then chew them thoroughly.

  • There is another way also to use parsley leaves to renew the breath by making juice of fresh leaves with the help of a juicer and drink that whenever required.
  • Parsley can be used on a regular basis also by garnishing them on different cuisines.

Green Tea

Green tea is a super remedy to remove persistent bad breath instantly because of its marvellous properties and phytochemicals present in it. It not only increases the metabolism rate of the body but also contains the anti-inflammatory properties which are useful in treating the gum disease and preventing cavities. One of the best benefits of green tea is that a person can carry it anywhere outside the home or on the trip and can use it as an instant home remedy whenever it is needed.

Way to use: Take 1 bag of green tea and put it in a hot cup of water. Leave it for few minutes until it completely gets into the water and then removes it. Drink it as it is or the honey can be added to the taste.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has numerous properties that play a vital role in removing the persistent bad breath. Such properties are its natural acids like malic acid and acetic acid which naturally kills the odour-producing bacteria present in the mouth. It also has antiseptic property and other trace elements such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, fluorine, chlorine, and iron which helps in the breakdown of the plaque and help in building strong teeth.

Way to use: Take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and add it to the normal or warm water. Stir it well and drink it before each meal. This can be used once in a day.

Gargling apple cider vinegar with some added warm water can also be a useful home remedy to get rid of persistent bad breath.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has powerful antioxidants, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which act as a natural disinfectant for various kind of bacteria that can grow in the mouth and produce persistent bad breath or odour. If using it as a home remedy, it should be noted that tea tree could be toxic if swallowed or ingested so it should be used topically only in a less amount.

Way to use: Take few drops of tea tree oil and mix them with the regular toothpaste. Brush it and rinse it with clean water.

Add few drops of tea tree oil along with the peppermint oil in a glass of water and gargle with this solution for a couple of minutes. Rinse it using clean water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is known as bicarbonate of soda that is natural antacid which helps in maintaining the PH level and decrease the acidity in the mouth and also the problem of persistent bad breath. Along with this it also removes the plaque and strain from the teeth and provides the everlasting fresh breath.

Way to use: Take 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or lemon juice. Mix them properly to make a fine paste with the help of little water if using cinnamon instead of lemon juice. In the case of lemon juice with baking soda just make the coarse paste. Then brush the already made paste gently on the teeth. Leave this for 1 minute and then rinse it by using normal water.

Caution: Use this home remedy only once or twice a week. Excessive use of baking soda can damage the enamel layer of the teeth.


Fenugreek has been used as a home remedy to treat many ailments for a long time because of its beneficial properties. It not only helps in digestion and acidity but clears the odour-causing bacteria from the teeth and tongue too. It also prevents the dryness of the mouth that can be heaven for the bacteria to grow faster thus it removes the persistent bad breath especially caused by catarrh infections.

Way to use: Take 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds or powder in a cup of water. Boil them and strain it. Drink the solution. 1 Tablespoon of fresh juice can also be added to the solution.

Take 2 tablespoons of fenugreek powder in a glass of water. Boil and strain the mixture. Gargle the solution and swish it around the mouth for 5 – 10 minutes. Spit the mixture.


Cucumber is widely used salad vegetable having various beneficial phytochemicals. Cucurbitacin is responsible for the slightly bitter taste of cucumber. It contains 95% of water, which help to keep the body hydrated, low content essential nutrients and vitamin K. These are all responsible for killing the microorganism in the mouth which produces the stinking odour in a breath.

Way to use: Take 1 slice of cucumber and put it in between the tongue and roof of the mouth for about 30 seconds. This can be a useful home remedy to get rid of persistent bad breath.

Cut the peeled or unpeeled cucumber into 1/2 inch slices and marinate them in water for 1 hour and then drink it.


Cardamom is the one of the expensive spice also known as “Queen of Spice” loved by all over the world. The seeds of the cardamom are warm and highly aromatic which act as a natural breath freshener. It contains powerful phytonutrients, trace minerals, and manganese that all plays a crucial role in many biological functions of the body. In India, the “Department of Microbiology at Kurukshetra University” conducted a study and concluded that cardamom also has antibacterial properties due to the presence of active constituent cineol which acts as a potent antiseptic for oral pathogenic bacteria and removes persistent bad breath.

Way to use: Take 1 or 2 pods of cardamom and chew them whole. A person can only chew the inner seeds by peeling off the pods. This easy yet effective home remedy can be applied on a daily basis.

Mango Ginger

Ginger is well-known spice all over the world but mango ginger is also a spice from the same ginger family. Mango ginger tastes same as a raw mango or called as “aambi” in Hindi that is different from the ginger. Nausea, gas, and constipation are one of the major causes of persistent bad breath and mango ginger helps to cure the same.

Way to use: Take the root of the mango ginger and make its decoction by boiling the roots in water. Gargle the decoction and spit it out. This home remedy can be used twice a day.

Activated Charcoal

The charcoal is heated to the high temperatures and combine with the gases to make it activated charcoal. It is highly porous in nature so it gets to expand and create the pores which use to trap the toxins, impurities and the odour-causing bacterias which removes persistent bad breath or odour. Activated charcoal also helps in whitening the teeth and works as a great home remedy.

Way to use: Take 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal and brush all the teeth completely using it. Flush out the charcoal properly from the mouth using clean water.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has a potent antibacterial action which reacts to the oral bacterial and kills it instantly. It also helps in removing the tartar from the teeth and vanish the persistent bad breath.

Way to use: Take 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and dilute it in 1 cup of water. Wash the mouth thoroughly with this solution. Rinse the mouth using plain water. The brush can also be done after washing the mouth with this solution if there is still hydrogen peroxide foaming in the mouth.

Caution: This home remedy should not be used daily because hydrogen peroxide is cytotoxic in nature that can break down the proteinaceous product and damage the tissues, gum, and teeth in the mouth.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is a very good ingredient that works as a natural germicide for the oral odour-causing bacteria because this salt removes the toxins and keeps the mouth clean and detoxified which clears the bad breath for a long time. The advantage of using Epsom salt over a regular salt is it does not affect the normal blood pressure of the body.

Way to use: Take 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt. Add it in a lukewarm water and gargle with the same. For best results use this home remedy once in a day or on alternate days.

Salt Water

The salt is well known for its antimicrobial and fighting against the infection properties. It also helps in neutralizing the PH of the mouth and clean it properly. It not only removes the persistent bad breath but also cures so many oral problems such as sore throats, gum diseases, tonsillitis and throat infections.

Way to use: Take 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of salt and add it in a glass of lukewarm water. Gargle the solution for 5 minutes and spit it. This home remedy can be done once or twice a day according to the need.

Take 1 tablespoon of salt and brush the teeth with it. Mustard oil can be added in a pinch of salt for brushing.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has countless benefits for the overall health. It has antimicrobial properties along with anti-inflammatory properties. In Ayurveda, coconut oil pulling technique is known to be effective for oral hygiene. It helps in keeping the mouth infection free, reduce dryness in the mouth, reduce inflammation, toothaches and gum diseases, whiten the teeth, absorbs pathogenic bacteria and freshens the breath.

Way to use: Take 1 tablespoon of the virgin coconut oil and swish it around the mouth for about 5 minutes. Spit it out and wash the mouth using lukewarm water.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has natural bactericidal action on different kinds of bacteria which removes the oral bacteria from the mouth. It also helps in reducing the inflammation and pain in the mouth due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. Eucalyptus leaves or oil has the ability to reduce volatile sulfur compounds which are responsible for causing persistent bad breath.

Way to use: Add 2 or 3 drops of the eucalyptus essential oil in a cup of water. Gargle the mixture and spit out after 5 minutes. Wash the mouth with clean water.

Chewing 2 or 3 eucalyptus leaves twice a day or using the mouthwash of eucalyptus leaves by boiling the leaves in a glass of water can also help eliminate persistent bad breath naturally .


Guava fruit and leaves are so full of beneficial constituents such as vitamin C, infection-fighting properties, tannic acid, astringent properties, malic acid, oxalate, and minerals. These all are responsible for the cure of persistent bad breath, sensitive teeth, toothache and other dental problems.

Way to use: Take 1 unripe guava fruit and eat it whole it is a sure shot treatment for the foul odour or bad breath.

Guava leaves also work wonderfully as a home remedy to cure of bad breath. Take few leaves of guava and chew them. The decoction of the guava leaves can also be used by boiling the leaves in the water.

Basil/Tulsi Leaves

Basil leaves also known as great basil is well-known herb for its high power of fighting against the numerous infection and antibacterial properties. It also has a high amount of chlorophyll, various essential oils, myrcene and eugenol which is responsible for the aroma of the basil leaves. These countless medicinal properties making it a excellent home remedy to get rid of persistent bad breath.

Way to use: Take 5 fresh basil or tulsi leaves and chew them every morning. It would keep the mouth fresh all day long.

  • Take few basil leaves and boil them in a glass of water. Strain the solution and use it as a mouthwash.
  • Basil tea is also a powerful home remedy which can be used to remove bad breath.

Sesame Oil

Apart from coconut oil, sesame oil is one of the favorites and most effective home remedy for the dental health which includes getting rid of persistent bad breath. It has a capability of the eliminating bacteria, alleviating chronic pain or a toothache, whitening the teeth and freshening the breath by removing the bad odour.

Way to use: Take 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and put it in the mouth just after wake up. Swish it in every corner of the mouth and move the jaws up and down just to keep the oil moving in the mouth. Do this continuously for about few minutes and then spit out the bacteria containing oil in the garbage. Rinse the mouth with plain water and then brush the teeth with regular toothpaste.

Citrus Fruits

All the citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C such as orange, lemon, sweet lime and strawberries. They have an ability to increase the flow of saliva in the mouth and prevent the dryness because dryness is a heaven for the growth of the oral bacteria. Saliva keeps the mouth wet and cleans the mouth due to antibacterial action. All citrus fruits also contain acid content in it which helps in preventing the further growth of odour-causing bacteria and also the persistent bad breath.

Way to use: To use it as a home remedy to get rid of persistent bad breath, simply eat any kind of citrus fruit regularly in the diet.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is also called “citrus seed extract”. It has wonderful antioxidant, antimicrobial properties along with the beneficial constituents such as ascorbic acid or vitamin C, tocopherols, citric acid, sterols, and minerals. That is why this extract does not allow the growth of the bacteria in the mouth and provides fresh breath by removing the persistent bad breath instantly and naturally.

Way to use: Take the regular toothpaste and add 1 – 2 drops of the grapefruit seed extract. Brush the teeth gently and rinse the mouth with plain water.

Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint is an excellent mouth refreshing plant widely used in many chewing gums, toothpaste, soaps and other eatable products for flavor. Peppermint is highly rich in menthol, volatile oil, terpenoids, and flavonoids. These give the peppermint a refreshing and cleaning effect. That is why peppermint can be an effective home remedy to remove the bad breath in just a few seconds.

Way to use: Take few leaves of peppermint and boil them in a glass of water. Use it as a mouthwash. It relieves persistent bad breath instantly.

Peppermint tea is also equally beneficial for the stinking mouth and works faster as a home remedy.


Yogurt is also called as “curd” that usually can be found in every kitchen. It is also known as “antidote for persistent bad breath” by the researchers. It is fully loaded with the antibacterial properties due to the presence of “Streptococcus thermophilus” and “Lactobacillus bulgaricus” which are the bacterias of the yogurt. These yogurt bacteria remove the hydrogen sulfide and other oral odour-causing bacteria. It also cures the other stomach problems such as indigestion, gas, and constipation which are the main cause of bad breath.

Way to use: Add yogurt to the daily diet which would give the beneficial effects on the overall health. For a long lasting result, use this home remedy regularly and add 6 ounces of yogurt in a meal.


Halitosis is a common problem in everyone’s life but it is actually can act as a sign and symptom because though it is a normal oral disorder but it can be the first indication of any serious or fatal disease. So a careful examination is important to a person having this problem for a long time to cure the root of the disease. Along with this the healthy lifestyle and daily hygiene is the most important thing to maintain regularly to prevent the condition.

Also Read:


  1. Attia, E.L. and Marshall, K.G., 1982. Halitosis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 126(11), p.1281.
  2. SCHNEYER LH, PIGMAN W, HANAHAN L, GILMORE RW: Rate of flow of human parotid, sublingual and submaxillary secretions during sleep. J Dent Res 1956; 35: 109-114
  3. SILVERSTINE CT: Garlic breath odour. Ohio State Medi 1936; 32: 1233
  4. DELP MH, MANNING RT: Majors Physical Diagnosis, 8th ed, Saunders, Philadelphia, 1975: 209
  5. BERG M, BURRILL DY, FOSDIcK LS: Chemical studies in periodontal disease; putrefaction rate as index of periodontal disease. J Dent Res 1947; 26; 67-71
  6. McNAMARA TF, ALEXANDER JF, LEE M: The role of microorganisms in the production of oral malodour. Oral Surg 1972; 34: 41-48
  7. ST CLAIR THOMSON: Tuberculosis of the upper air-passages. In Diseases of the Nose and Throat: a Textbook for Students and Practitioners, 6th ed, reviaed by NEGUS yE, BATEMAN GH, Casuell, London, 1955: 860-874
  8. WILLIAMS HL: Infections and granulomas of the nasal airways and paranasal sinuses. In PAPARELLA MM, SHUMRICK DA (eds): Otolaryngology, vol 3: Head and Neck, Saunders, Philadelphia, 1973: 27-38
  9. dem: Syphilis of the upper air passages. Ibid: 897-904
  10. ST CLAIR THOMSON: Pharyngitis; retropharyngeal abscess. In Diseases of the Nose and Throat: a Textbook for Students and Practitioners, 6th ed, revisod by NEGUS yE, BATEMAN GH, Cassell, London, 1955: 477-492.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 23, 2018

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