Gargling with salt water is often suggested as a natural solution to bad breath. Salt water has been proven to help fight off the bacteria that cause oral malodor, also known as halitosis or bad breath, and has commonly been used as an alternative to mouthwashes that contain harsh ingredients including alcohol.
As dentists, though gargling salt water is safe, we don’t recommend using salt water as a solution to bad breath. The cause of bad breath must be addressed if it is to be prevented for good. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, diet, alcohol use, tooth decay and periodontal disease can all contribute to, or cause bad breath. Many of these causes can be prevented and treated from home effectively with the right oral care solutions and tools. We recommend a prescriptive oral care routine rather than the use of salt water to get rid of bad breath. Bad breath should always be taken seriously and treated accordingly. If bad breath persists, it’s vital that you seek attention from your dentist.
There has been an increase in natural oral care remedies which we don’t recommend. Using formulations that don’t contain the essential active ingredients necessary to combat bad breath will ultimately harm your oral health and won't solve bad breath. Instead, we recommend preventing and treating bad breath by using effective, clean, vegan-friendly, clinically proven, alcohol-free oral care solutions daily. While we don’t recommend the use of natural oral care solutions, we never promote the use of unnecessary or unsafe ingredients. Vegan-friendly formulations that don’t contain additional unnecessary ingredients like microbeads, palm oils, parabens, triclosan, DEA and SLS or alcohol are effective without harming your health.
Bad Breath Solutions
Effective Oral Care
On many occasions, the cause of bad breath is a lack of good daily oral hygiene. If daily brushing and flossing with clean, active formulations and oral care solutions are not occurring, bacteria will form on the teeth, gums, and in the mouth, releasing a gas that smells unpleasant. We recognise this odour as bad breath or halitosis. Salt water is not an effective solution or alternative to good oral care. Brushing with a Sonic Toothbrush twice a day for 2 minutes each time will ensure your teeth and gums are cleaned thoroughly while flossing and using an active ingredient-infused, prescriptive mouthwash will also help combat the bacteria that cause bad breath.
For those who are using salt water as an alternative to generic mouthwash, use an alcohol-free version to ensure bad breath is treated without harming your health or experiencing harsh side effects. Maintaining good daily oral care will ensure gums and teeth are clean and healthy and will prevent bad breath or alleviate it if it is already occurring. A good oral care routine should always be the first step taken in preventing and solving bad breath.
Clean, Active Formulations
Always ensure your toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash formulations contain clean, active ingredients and never contain alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the mouth and affects saliva production, which in turn can lead to bacteria forming. Active ingredients work to protect tooth and gum health and will combat bad breath. Toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss ingredients like Fluoride and Chlorhexidine actively work to prevent and target bad breath and will support, not harm your overall oral health.
Prescriptive Oral Care
Understanding that everyone’s oral care concerns are individual means choosing oral care solutions that are made to target your specific concerns is essntial. When treating or preventing bad breath, choose oral care solutions that have been clinically formulated to target bad breath. The more prescriptive your oral care solutions are, the better results you will see in your oral health.
Smoking and Alcohol Use
Smoking and alcohol both cause the mouth to dry out which can lead to smokers breath. Nicotine use specifically has been proven to cause gum disease, so avoiding nicotine use is one of the best ways to stop halitosis and bad breath from occurring. Limiting alcohol use or rehydrating with water immediately after drinking alcohol can limit the onset of bad breath. Using a salt water rinse is not enough to mitigate these effects.
One of the main causes of temporary halitosis is bad breath-causing food. Garlic, onion, tinned fish and acidic fruits can all cause bad breath. This kind of bad breath is easy to alleviate through brushing, flossing, using an alcohol-free mouthwash or simply by avoiding these foods completely.
Regular Dental Visits
At-home oral care is essential, but it is not the only way to ensure good oral health. Visiting your dentist every 6 months is vital in ensuring your oral health is assessed and treated professionally. In cases where bad breath persists, despite good oral care at home, your dentist will be able to treat the cause which can include gum disease. Tooth decay smell or rotten tooth smell may be signs of more serious oral health issues.