A blemish on the tip of your nose, voluminous flatulence, and bad breath. What do they all have in common? They are all problems that can affect your life- personally, professionally, and romantically. We’re not going to cover skin care or healthy digestion in this article, but we are going to talk about bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis. Halitosis is any foul odor that emanates from the mouth. Halitosis can be caused by poor gum health, the food you eat, or the volatile sulphur compounds and other elements you’re failing to brush off your teeth. In some cases, bad breath can also be the product of internal gut problems. Whatever the reason, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry reports that 50% of the world’s population claim bad breath is a problem they personally experience.  The reality is that nobody is exempt from mouth stench, and the other 50% might want to wake up.
The good news is that whereas many health problems can be tricky to resolve, bad breath is largely managed by staying top of your oral health maintenance. For many people, the equation is simple: brush your teeth at least twice a day, give your tongue a scrubbing, floss, use a mouth rinse, and keep a breath freshening product handy for the in-between time. There may be a few exceptions but that’s going to do the trick for the vast majority of us.
Introduce Your Mouth to Myrrh
There are many breath fresheners available and the ones to pay attention to are those that contain natural, herbal ingredients. A natural formulation is preferable to those of us who want to avoid chemical “medicines” and the side effects that accompany them. One of the natural ingredients to look for in a breath freshener is myrrh. Myrrh is a resinous sap that comes from the Commiphora tree and you might remember it as one of the gifts, along with frankincense and gold, that the magi presented to the Christ child. The use of myrrh actually extends as far back as the 5th century BC and it’s a part of Ayruvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. Now, many dental products contain myrrh because of its actions against the harmful organisms that cause bad breath.
How Does Myrrh Relieve Bad Breath?
Myrrh is effective against bad breath because it’s toxic to the bad-breath-causing harmful organisms that lurk and grow in your mouth. Research has shown that this action is directly related to compounds called terpenoids.  Myrrh’s efficacy against harmful organisms even extends to candida. One study that pitted over forty strains of candida against various oral health products noted that myrrh was one of the natural compounds found to be most effective. 
Myrrh and Gum Health
Unhealthy gums can contribute to bad breath and can also be a huge problem in their own right. If your gums are swollen or red, it’s an indication that they are not healthy. In fact, unhealthy gums can quickly become diseased gums if not addressed quickly. You’ll be happy to learn that myrrh is also good for your gums. The Dental Research Center and Department of Periodontology at the University of Tennessee reports that myrrh oil may help reduce the redness and swelling associated with unhealthy gums.  This supports previous research that had already observed myrrh’s redness-reducing qualities. 
Using Myrrh for Bad Breath
If you want to manage your oral health and ensure your mouth odors are pleasant, I recommend natural herbal solutions such as myrrh, peppermint, and tea tree. If you have fresh herbs or sap available, chewing them can be very refreshing. Additionally, many fresh breath promoting herbs are available as essential oils that can be added to water or a mouth rinse. Global Healing Center also offers an excellent and convenient breath freshening spray called Fresh Mouth™ that is very carefully produced and contains myrrh and other beneficial herbs.
Have you used myrrh to relieve bad breath or promote oral health? How did you use it? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below and share with us.
– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Armstrong BL, Sensat ML, Stoltenberg JL. Halitosis: a review of current literature. J Dent Hyg. 2010 Spring;84(2):65-74. Epub 2010 Mar 19.
- Nomicos EY. Myrrh: medical marvel or myth of the Magi? Holist Nurs Pract. 2007 Nov-Dec;21(6):308-23.
- Carvalhinho S, Costa AM, Coelho AC, Martins E, Sampaio A. Susceptibilities of Candida albicans mouth isolates to antifungal agents, essentials oils and mouth rinses. Mycopathologia. 2012 Jul;174(1):69-76. doi: 10.1007/s11046-012-9520-4. Epub 2012 Jan 14.
- Tipton DA, Hamman NR, Dabbous MKh. Effect of myrrh oil on IL-1beta stimulation of NF-kappaB activation and PGE(2) production in human gingival fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Toxicol In Vitro. 2006 Mar;20(2):248-55. Epub 2005 Aug 19.
- Tariq M, Ageel AM, Al-Yahya MA, Mossa JS, Al-Said MS, Parmar NS. Anti-inflammatory activity of Commiphora molmol. Agents Actions. 1986 Jan;17(3-4):381-2.