Foods that Cause Bad Breath

Bad Breath Foods: Foods to avoid that cause bad breath

There are certain foods to avoid that cause bad breath. Some foods are prone to cause a foul smell to develop on peoples breath more quickly than others. It is common knowledge that foods like garlic and onions cause bad breath but here is a list of foods and types of foods that cause bad breath. Remember that brushing your teeth, flossing, and gargling mouthwash after eating these foods will remove most of if not all the negative effects that these foods will have on your breath. If you are out and about or do not have access to a toothbrush it is always a good idea to sip some water and swish it in your mouth for about 10 seconds and spit it out to remove food particles from your mouth. If you are even more desperate you may use a spoon as a tongue scraper. This will reduce the affect it will have on your breath.

Foods that contain sugars

coca cola and sugar cubes

Sugary foods are the most important to avoid if you are concerned about foods that cause bad breath. The sugar provides a quick food source for bacteria, and allows them to reproduce quickly. Also some bacteria cause the buildup of plaque that coats your teeth and gums if they have access to sugars. When eating sugary food, be sure to brush your teeth after or at least give your mouth a good rinsing. Avoid breath mints and chewing gum that contains sugar as those will do more harm than good. Also lay off of the sugary drinks such as soda pop, coffee, etc.

Foods that are acidic

The mouth has a normal pH level of 6.5. In the pH scale 7 is considered neutral so foods with a pH lower then 7 are considered acidic. Foods that are acidic lower the pH level in the mouth. Bacteria that cause bad breath thrive in this acidic environment. Here is a list of acidic foods:

Although bacteria do like an acidic environment, eating acidic foods does not negatively affect breath nearly as much as eating foods that contain a lot of sugar, dry out the mouth, or that are naturally just smelly like garlic.

beer and a cigarrette

Foods that dry out your mouth

Drinks with alcohol will dry out your mouth. A dry mouth helps the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath because these anaerobic bacteria are killed when exposed to oxygen which is found in saliva. So a dry mouth will not have as much oxygen that kills bacteria. Smoking also drys out the mouth very quickly.

NOTE: Unfortunately alcohol is also found in many mouthwashes. Be sure to use one that does not contain alcohol so it does not dry out the mouth.

Everyone knows that smoking makes your breath small bad. If you want fresh breath, quit smoking or switch to e-cigarettes.

Foods that get stuck in the mouth

Your saliva usually does a pretty good job of breaking food down and washing it down the throat and to the stomach through swallowing, but some foods are either fibrous or sticky and easily get stuck in between or on teeth. These left over food particles will act as fuel for the odor causing bacteria and will cause bad breath in time. Make sure to floss after eating foods like these. Here is a list of foods that easily get stuck in your teeth.

Foods with a strong odor

This is where garlic, onions, salsa, and your mother-in-law's curry belongs. The reason why foods like garlic make you have such bad breath is because garlic contains sulfur compounds. VSCs (Volatile Sulfur Compounds) are what the bacteria produce that causes bad breath. So when eating these foods the bacteria do not even have to do anything and you are going to have breath because the sulfur compounds will get in your mouth from these foods. Be sure to brush, floss, and gargle mouthwash very well after eating these foods to rid your mouth of these sulfur compounds. I find it is also necessary to use a tongue scraper or scrub the tongue well after eating these foods.

For a better understanding of why these foods cause bad breath, read our article on What Causes Bad Breath. Also it would be a good idea to lower the population of the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath so it will take longer for bad breath to develop after eating these foods. In order to learn how to do that read our article on How To Get Rid of Bad Breath.

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Comments (12)
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sugar does give me bad breath

by mel on Dec 27, 2016 | 10:19 PM

I am positive I get the worst breath from my gut as a result of eating sugar. A little in cake, cookie or pie is ok, but if I eat several choc chips or gummy bears I definitely get bad breath. I wish I knew a quick fix. I'll try lemon water.

by JJ on Nov 17, 2016 | 3:39 PM

I've read that chronic bad breath can be caused by some oral cancers and throat cancer; also, really bad breathe can be indicative of acid reflux or silent reflux disorder which in itself, untreated, acid reflux may lead to throat cancer. It happened to my dad, and he never smoked but suffered many years with GERD and was a stage 3 throat cancer at 49 years old.

by Ligia M. on Jul 29, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Bad breath

I suffer from chronic bad breath. Your article has great suggestions, thank-you.

P.S. typo ... paragraph, ( foods that make dry out your mouth)

by LAC on Jan 13, 2016 | 9:46 PM

bad breath every day

I just cut out starchy food and I am eating more vegetable its much better Ilove rice and peas.but it have to go!

by nicole on Jun 26, 2015 | 4:21 AM

bad breath every day

I just cut out starchy food and its much better Ilove rice and peas.but it have to go!

by nicole on Jun 26, 2015 | 4:18 AM

I agree. lemon is a life saver. I have bad bath when I drink coffee. others drink coffee and smell fine, but not me. a piece of lemon, like they do in Europe, and I'm fresh!

by Jamie on Jun 17, 2015 | 8:51 PM

Ted, I don't know if you're still checking comments, but I think anything you're not digesting well can cause bad breath. Does your wife have any digestive pains? When I quit eating starches, my persistent bloating and pain went away and my breath was much better. And I eat plenty of meat. It's not necessarily meat or starches that cause bad breath; it's whatever you personally can't digest.

by Anna on May 28, 2015 | 2:38 PM

It's that bad breath that seems to come from further down. My wife has it and I am hesitant to bring it up. She could brush her teeth and it isn't a "mouth breath" but one that seems to come from deeper - lungs or gut. It's concerning.

by Ted on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:50 AM

If you want good breath then clean up your digestive tract. Out with the rotting animal carcasses, up the fiber to keep things moving. Drink more water and eliminate toothpastes that give you dry mouth. You need an abundance of saliva that will protect your mouth from bacteria.

And citrus fruits are NOT acidic once they enter the body. I've been eating a high carb fruit based diet for years and my breath is minty fresh. Citrus is some of the best stuff you can eat for health.

by Phil on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:49 AM

Oranges, pepper, tomatoes, grapefruit, lemon and eggs are things we cannot resist so....

by ffjgf on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:48 AM

Garlic, onions, coffee and alcohol are some of the worst. They're hard to avoid because they're everywhere. The hardest for me to give up was coffee. I do drink a little alcohol now and then, but I always drink slowly and sip water on the side.

by Bernardo on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:48 AM
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