Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is any offensive odor that comes out the mouth. Although certain conditions can cause bad breath to exist for reasons other than a failure to brush one's teeth, halitosis is usually caused by microbes and volatile sulphur compounds. These odor-causing nasties tend to thrive and proliferate most often due to a lapse in oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth, at least twice a day, flossing, and using a beneficial rinse are good standard protocol for maintaining a clean and fresh mouth.
However, after a meal or during the workday, it's not always convenient to jump into a full-blown dental cleansing routine. For these in-between moments, many people maintain fresh breath by using gum or breath sprays. Both work great, but whichever is your choice, I recommend choosing a product that contains beneficial, natural ingredients. Products that contain sugar and other chemicals can be damaging to your teeth and may even promote continued bad breath.
Freshen Your Breath with Sage
When choosing an herbal breath freshening product, watch for products that contain tea tree, peppermint, and myrrh. All of these plants contain compounds that safely and naturally promote fresh breath. Additionally, pay special attention to those that also contain sage. Research shows that sage, which has a very long history of therapeutic and culinary uses, has a lot to offer when it comes to maintaining fresh breath.
In 2005, Brazilian researchers tested orally unhealthy saliva samples against various plant extracts. Sage and clove were observed to be among the most toxic to harmful organisms that cause bad breath and detract from oral health.  A similar effect was noticed in 2008 when the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center conducted a 56-person study in which an herbal formulation containing sage was evaluated for properties that promote oral health. Not only did the sage formula decrease bad breath, it was also toxic against harmful organisms found in the mouth. 
Using Sage for Oral Health
As part of your comprehensive, overall oral health strategy, sage is one of many herbs that I recommend for maintaining fresh breath. If you have fresh sage available, many people find chewing the leaves to be refreshing. Additionally, the leaves can be brewed and made into a tea to which other herbs could be added and formulated into a mouth rinse.
- Feres M, Figueiredo LC, Barreto IM, Coelho MH, Araujo MW, Cortelli SC. In vitro antimicrobial activity of plant extracts and propolis in saliva samples of healthy and periodontally-involved subjects. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2005 Jul;7(3):90-6.
- Sterer N, Nuas S, Mizrahi B, Goldenberg C, Weiss EI, Domb A, Davidi MP. Oral malodor reduction by a palatal mucoadhesive tablet containing herbal formulation. J Dent. 2008 Jul;36(7):535-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 May 12.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.