Are you worried your friends and colleagues may be getting bowled over by your breath? Bad breath affects over half of us. There are many causes for breath odor. If you don’t brush and floss every day, food stays in your mouth and collects bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food collected between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can also rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.
Bad breath could also signal a medical disorder. Local infections in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, and liver or kidney ailment can cause breath odor. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to a physician to determine the cause of bad breath.
What you eat is also a factor. The food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s transferred to the lungs where it’s expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily; odors continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters can develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
Bad breath doesn’t have to be a problem. There are many ways to combat it and still enjoy the foods you love. Here are some foods that cause bad breath, and how to control or prevent them from affecting your oral hygiene.
Here are the 5 foods that cause bad breath and also the 5 foods that fight bad breath.
5 Foods that cause bad breath
1. Garlic, Onions and Spicy Foods
If you’re going out for lunch or dinner with friends, be proactive about your breath. Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste in your handbag so that you can eat a spicy curry or garlic and onions, but help alleviate their affects by brushing afterwards. A quick trip to brush your teeth in the bathroom after your meal will help wash away some of the bad breath causing agents of these foods.
2. Coffee and Other Beverages
If you need a strong coffee to get started in the morning, follow it up with a glass or bottle of water. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can cause dry mouth; Mouth produces bad breath by allowing bacteria to survive without the saliva washing it away. Regularly drinking water, particularly at meal times, can help wash this bacteria away and alleviate the bad breath associated with dry mouth.
3. Tuna and Fish
For many people, a tuna sandwich is the perfect lunch. They are filling, high in protein and delicious! If you can’t brush your teeth right after a tuna sandwich, pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth to freshen up. Chewing gum helps stimulate saliva to wash away any food particles that might be stuck on your teeth. Another tip for fish lovers is to splash lemon or vinegar onto your fish before eating because it helps reduce the “fishy” odor. According to the American Society of Nutrition, this smell is caused by trimethylamine (TMA); acidic ingredients can help TMA bind to water, reducing its smell.
5 Food that fight bad breath
You don’t have to give up foods that cause bad breath. Just know how to fight back against it so that your breath is ready for whatever is on the menu.
1. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are a common Indian remedy for bad breath because they help neutralize offensive odors and aid digestion. Eating the seeds also increases saliva that washes away bacteria from your mouth. Fennel oils have antibacterial properties as well, fighting germs that cause bad breath. The seeds can be picked up at health food stores.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is high in polyphenols, antioxidants that fight the growth of bacteria and also help reduce sulfur compounds. Green teas are also good for overall periodontal health, says Dr. Carlos. A downside, though, is that tea can stain teeth. To reap the benefits of this antioxidant-rich tea without these side effects, green tea extracts can be taken as a supplement, which have been proven to fight oral bacteria.
Apples are a great food to eat to keep your oral hygiene in check, mostly because of their natural detergent properties, says Dr. Grenn. When you bite into an apple, you’re pushing plaque away from your teeth, thus eliminating the food matter that could cause bacteria in your gums and teeth.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
As a general rule of thumb, if a food is good for your overall health, it will be good for your dental health, as well. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and kale are great for your health, and good for oral hygiene. Green vegetables keep your internal pH levels balanced and alkaline levels low, which in turn help prevent dry mouth, another cause of bad breath.
Green leafy vegetables also contain a high amount of chlorophyll that acts as a natural deodorizer. You can also take chlorophyll in capsules as a stronger internal deodorant.
5. Probiotic Yogurt
Probiotic yogurt is great for your digestive health, and therefore is an effective bad-breath neutralizer. Consuming yogurt with live active cultures lowers the amount of odor-causing sulfite compounds. It’s also a good idea to add probiotic yogurts into your diet because they’re a potent source of vitamin D, which fights mouth bacteria. Drinking kefir delivers the same odor-banishing benefits.
Keeping hydrated is essential to fighting halitosis. Dry mouth creates an environment in which bacteria thrive. Water also acts as a cleanser that encourages saliva production, which is crucial for cleansing the mouth of food particles and bacteria.
7. Parsley and Basil
Parsley and basil are leafy greens that have the added benefit of being replete with chlorophyll, nature’s internal deodorizer. Add parsley or basil into your green juice, add them to your salads, or eat them on their own to reap the benefits of their odor-neutralizing properties.
Strawberries, like many other fruits, are high in water content, and prevent dry mouth. They’re also very high in vitamin C, and create an environment hostile to bacteria and germs. As an added bonus, vitamin C speeds up the healing process in the mouth, and boosts your immune system, too.
9. Berries, Melons, and Citrus Fruits
Fruits that are high in vitamin C levels scare away bad-breath-creating oral bacteria. Bacteria cannot thrive in environments high in vitamin C, and eating nutritious fruits has the added bonus of keeping breath fresh. Berries, melons, and citrus fruits also have a high water content, which hydrates the mouth and keeps bacteria at bay. As an added bonus, vitamin C also helps fight gingivitis.
Ginger is an ancient remedy for upset stomachs, which can lead to halitosis. While it’s great for settling the stomach, ginger also has the powerful effect of neutralizing bad breath. If you find yourself suffering from halitosis, pressed ginger combined with lemon juice mixed in equal parts with warm water creates a great natural at-home rinse to keep the unpleasant odors away.
11. Say cheese (and yogurt)
A piece of cheese after you’ve eaten can neutralize some of those dietary acids, which may be stuck on your teeth and giving you that bad breath odour. A serving of unsweetened yogurt can also help. A small Japanese study found that volunteers with halitosis who ate yogurt twice a day had reduced levels of hydrogen sulfide, a compound that can cause bad breath.
12. Have a cuppa
The polyphenols or compounds in black tea may help your breath in two ways: First, they prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause foul breath. Second, they decrease the bacteria’s production of stinky byproducts. Black tea has also been shown to help prevent tooth decay; so all in all, this steaming beverage makes for a good mouth freshener! One thing to beware: too much caffeine can dry out your mouth. Since that can also do a number on your breath, keep your tea intake to a moderate level, or go for decaf.
13. Sugarless candies and gum
Any snack that increases saliva flow in your mouth, like sugar-free candy or gum, will help reduce odour in your mouth. Wondering what flavour to opt for? Mint may temporarily mask a bad smell. Cinnamon, on the other hand, may actually help to stop it at the source. The plant essential oil that’s often used for flavouring cinnamon gums and candies, known as cinnamic aldehyde, can reduce odour-causing bacteria.