Bad breath can ruin just about anyone’s day, and although we all suffer from it occasionally, regular spells of halitosis can be not only socially alienating but also indicative of underlying health conditions. It’s best to check with a doctor if you find your bad breath constantly makes an appearance. However, if the unpleasant odors remain even after you’ve sought professional help, here are some natural alternatives that may prove useful.

While quick remedies such as gum and mints can mask bad mouth odors, most are not able to stop bad breath at its source: a buildup of food debris between your teeth, or plaque. In more rare cases, bad breath originates from another source. This is when it may be a telltale sign of a health problem. Certain conditions such as diabetes and kidney failure can also cause one’s breath to take on a peculiar scent. So what do you do if you don’t just want to hide bad breath but actually cure it?

Drink Some Water!

So often we invest in expensive complex products when the easiest solution to a problem is also the most simple. When it comes to bad breath, simply increasing the amount of fresh water you drink every day can do wonders. Dry mouths mean less saliva, and believe it or not, saliva is our body’s natural way of keeping bad-smelling bacteria at bay. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, thus helping maintain your saliva amounts, but gulping down a nice glass of water can also work by literally flushing bacteria and leftover food particles out of your mouth.

Eat Some Carbs!

Yes, following a low-carb diet is helpful in keeping your waistline in check, but going too far with your carbohydrate restrictions can actually cause bad breath. Ketosis is a serious condition caused when one’s keytone level gets too high, Medical News Today reported. Ketones are formed when glycogen stores in our liver have run out and consist of acetone, the chemical most commonly known as nail polish remover.

Normally, when there are plenty of carbohydrates in the body, they are broken into glucose and converted to energy. However, when one is lacking in carbs, the body will instead break down stored fat. When this occurs, ketone levels increase until eventually the person develops ketosis and their breath will take on an odor often described as “fruity.” Thankfully, this odor usually passes on its own in time, but if you’re seeking immediate relief from keto-breath, a change in diet rather than a change in toothpaste may be the best remedy.

Pile On The Raw Foods, Too, While You’re At It

As mentioned, saliva is our body’s biggest defense against bad breath. Eating raw vegetables helps to promote the production of saliva and therefore simply strengthens our already present natural defense. It is recommended that you eat a healthy breakfast consisting of raw fruits and veggies to help saliva flow and reverse dry mouth effects caused by sleeping. Chewing raw foods can also help to scrape away some of the plaque that builds up on teeth, so if you don’t have access to a toothbrush, try chomping down on a raw carrot or apple instead.

Chomp Down On Some Spices

Aromatic spices don’t just cover up bad breath, many can actually treat it. For example, fennel is known to contain antimicrobial properties that can kill bad odor-causing bacteria. Chewing on a teaspoon of fennel seeds after eating strong-smelling food can help keep halitosis at bay. Cinnamon spice works in a similar way and drinking a cinnamon tea or simply just rinsing your mouth with a mixture of powdered cinnamon and water, can not only freshen breath but make sure it stays that way.

Drinking a mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water can also prevent the growth of oral bacteria due to the high acidity of the vinegar. Not a fan of swishing around vinegar in your mouth? No problem. A similar effect can be achieved using lemons inside of vinegar.