Kissability (not really a Homemade DIY fix)

Barbara Tritz
· July 30, 2014 ·

4 minutes

When I wrote the last post (Addressing Kissability) my daughter (and editor) scrolled through Pinterest and took a look at what people were posting about bad breath.  I love a good DIY as much as the next gal, but after seeing these I was mildly horrified.  These people are not using research- it’s folklore, hearsay, and sound-good, but a lot of it’s not true or it’s half-true, which can be worse.

Always check with your dental professional before taking tooth tips from the internet.  I am also more than happy to answer any questions you may have- here in the comments, on my Facebook page, in a private message, or through our office’s Facebook page.

I’m not posting the link to the following, because I don’t want anyone to actually follow this advice, but in the interest of citing my sources, which I do like to do, I will say that this is able to be found by searching ‘bad breath’ on Pinterest.

Take a look:

Homemade Cinnamon Mouthwash for Bad Breath 

You will need… – lemons – cinnamon

 baking soda – honey – warm water

Pop quiz:
Why, based on your new found knowledge, (and/or go back and read my older blog posts) will this actually be detrimental to your teeth and mouth?

The answer:
Not only would you be giving sugar to the bacteria in your mouth- sugar being a carbohydrate, their favorite food- but you would also be making your mouth acidic, their favorite living environment. You would be regularly encouraging the bad bacteria in your mouth to keep on living, reproducing, and contributing to the breakdown of your cells and on top of all that, making your bad breath worse!

Any of these tooth-related home remedies using lemon juice should be immediately ignored and never thought of again. If you want to know why, put an egg shell in lemon juice and observe it for a few days. Egg shells are similar in composition to tooth enamel.  We will go into this more when we talk about sensitive teeth.

Looks like a delicious fruit drink, but no,
this recipe won’t help your bad breath either

The half-educated pins and their attached articles are just as scary for me. One of them says,

“Eating citrus food rich in Vitamin C create a harsh environment for bacterial growth. The acid present in foods like orange, lemon, grapefruit stimulates the saliva which suppresses odor causing bacteria.
Vitamin C also helps in fighting gum disease and gingivitis which contribute majorly to the bad smell in the mouth.”
This found on Tipnut.
Others on

This seems to be an unfortunately common misconception.  Yes, the citrus stimulates saliva, and saliva is liquid gold. Yes, Vitamin C is good for you, especially in whole food rather than supplement form, and yes, gum disease (the preliminary stage of which is gingivitis) does contribute “majorly” to bad breath, BUT the bad bacteria thrive in acidic environments and acid is bad for your teeth. (See egg shell experiment above.)
That’s not to say I don’t ever want you to eat a grapefruit.  A healthy, balanced diet, like I said before, is so important.  I just want you to be smart about it.  Don’t suck on lemons, don’t rub your teeth with strawberries.  Drink some water when you’re done eating and let your mouth return to a neutral pH.

Other fix-it-at-home pins, like the ones to the right, suggest herbs and spices to help improve your breath.  These don’t raise quite as much panic as the ones above do (acid and sugar! no!) and they may indeed help your breath, but it’s going to be temporary.  Halitosis cannot be magicked away with some cinnamon and cardamom, you have to fix the root of the problem.  Maybe after that you can try to mask your garlic breath by chewing on cloves, but just eating some ginger isn’t going to cure you!

Bottom line: don’t believe everything
you see on the internet.

Also, pressing a slice of cucumber against the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds won’t do much either. Where do people come up with these things!?

Keep Smiling,



Hello, I'm Barbara Tritz

Unveiling the Stories Behind Dental Hygiene

Loving science, especially biology, from an early age, Barbara is a registered dental hygienist, certified biological hygienist, and orofacial myofunctional therapist. In 2019, she received the Hu-Friedy/ADHA Master Clinician Award from the American Dental Hygienist Association.

Share your thoughts below!


  1. Judy

    Way to go Barbara….what about the Coconut Oil rinse in mouth and spit out…leaches bad bacteria?..thanks

  2. Barbara Tritz

    Thanks Judy!
    I don't have any research to back up oil pulling. I understand the theory and can see the value of swishing for 20 minutes. If you want to do this and your mouth feels better, go for it, just don't stop any other oral hygiene tools you normally use. Plaque is really sticky and ideally needs to be rubbed off. Swishing with anything really only removes the surface plaque. I don't know if the oil changes the composition of the plaque so I'll look further into this and do a blog post in the future. You're not the only person to ask me about oil pulling, so let me investigate and learn more! Great question!


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