Take Emergency Measures
A dry mouth is a haven for the bacteria that cause bad breath. So find a tap, and swish the water around in your mouth. Water will temporarily dislodge bacteria and make your breath a bit more palatable.
At the end of your power lunch or romantic dinner, munch the sprig of parsley that’s left on your plate. Parsley is rich in chlorophyll, a known breath deodorizer with germ-fighting qualities.
If you can get your hands on an orange, peel and eat it. The citric acid it contains will stimulate your salivary glands and encourage the flow of breath-freshening saliva.
If there are no oranges in sight, eat whatever is available, except known breath-foulers like garlic, onions, or a stinky cheese. Eating encourages the flow of saliva, which helps remove the unpleasant, odour-causing material on the back of your tongue.
Vigorously scrape your tongue over your teeth. Your tongue can become coated with bacteria that ferment proteins, producing gases that smell bad. Scraping your tongue can dislodge these bacteria so you can rinse them away.
If you have a metal or plastic spoon, use it as a tongue scraper. To scrape safely, place the spoon on the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Repeat four or five times. Scrape the sides of the tongue as well, with the same back-to-front motion.
Raid the Spice Shelf
Cloves are rich in eugenol, a potent antibacterial. Simply pop one into your mouth and dent it with your teeth. The pungent aromatic oil may burn slightly, so keep that spicy nub moving. Continue to bite until the essence permeates your mouth, then spit it out. Don’t use clove oil or powdered cloves; they’re too strong and can cause burns.
Chew on fennel, dill, cardamom, or anise seeds. Anise, which tastes like black licorice, can kill the bacteria that grow on the tongue. The others can help mask the odour of halitosis.
Suck on a stick of cinnamon. Like cloves, cinnamon is effective as an antiseptic.
Choose Your Fresheners
The most obvious brand-name products advertised as breath-fresheners are rarely, if ever, effective in the long run. But with a therapeutic oral rinse, you can rid yourself of the compounds that are responsible for breath odour.
Use a toothpaste that contains tea-tree oil, a natural disinfectant. If you can’t find it in the pharmacy, look for it in health-food stores.