Bad breath isn't just embarrassing -- it can also ruin dates, job interviews, meetings and other important social events. If your breath smells, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have poor hygiene. Your mouth is the perfect place for odor-causing bacteria to thrive, so you'll need to work to ward off bad smells. If you'd rather not use mouthwash or chemical solutions, try a natural breath-freshening option instead.
Brush your teeth, gums and tongue at least twice per day. To get rid of most odors, brush after waking up in the morning, before going to bed at night or after eating a meal. Flossing every day helps, too. If you have trouble using traditional floss, try floss picks instead.
Avoid eating smelly foods, such as onions, garlic or cheese, when you want to prevent mouth odor. Coffee, alcohol and milk can cause bad breath as well.
Limit the amount of sugar you eat. When you consume sugar, odor-causing bacteria reproduce more rapidly in your mouth.
Drink eight or more glasses of water per day. Water flushes out bacteria and keeps your mouth hydrated, so it won't develop a bad smell.
Chew a piece of cinnamon gum, or sprinkle ground cinnamon on your food before eating it. Cinnamon has anti-bacterial properties that eliminate odor naturally.
Add a few drops of lemon juice to your water before drinking it. Alternatively, suck on a slice of lemon. This works well for neutralizing garlic and onion odors.
Eat foods high in vitamin C, such as berries, citrus fruits and melons. Crisp, fiber-rich produce, including apples and celery, work too. They help by scrubbing away bacteria and producing saliva that your mouth needs to get rid of bad breath.
Use a natural breath mint, such as one that contains peppermint or magnolia bark extract. Magnolia bark, for example, has antibacterial properties.
Drink a cup of green or black tea. Both contain antioxidants that prevent odor-causing plaque from clinging to teeth.
If your bad breath doesn't go away, it may be caused by a cavity or a health condition. Possible problems include reflux disease, tonsil stones, chronic sinus or respiratory infection, diabetes or liver disorder. See your doctor if you suspect that a health problem is the source of your breath odor.