Every one of us does not like having an unpleasant smell emanating in our body, particularly in our mouth. However, we fall victim to bad breath in one way or another (see Causes of Bad Breath). One of the causes of bad breath that can be easily addressed is food.
Some foods contain chemicals that get into the blood stream and consequently cause bad breath. Others have naturally an unpleasant odor when chewed and digested in the mouth. So what foods must be regulated, if not avoided, in order to have fresh breath? Here are the foods that cause bad breath:
Garlic and onions. Examples of these foods are onions and garlic. When chewed, they create a very foul odor. They also contain sulfur compounds that ferment and result in terribly bad breath. Garlic in particular has odorous compounds including diallyl disulfide, allyl methyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan and allyl methyl sulfide.
Sugary foods. Because of the small components of this food, enzymes have an easier time breaking the substances down and therefore letting the bacteria dwell and consume the remnants of the food. These bacteria will therefore cause halitosis if they stayed inside the mouth for a prolonged period. In addition, the frightening part is that other bacteria can take the sugars and produce glycan strands, which in turn end up causing thick layers of plaque on the enamel of your teeth and around your gums. This leads to tooth decay and gum disease - and you guessed it - worse breath than you started with! 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, and others.
Dense protein foods. Conversely, foods that are very hard to digest can also be the reason for bad breath. An example is red meat. Not only because of how it reacts in your mouth, but it is also so hard to break down and digest. As the stomach acids interact with the red meat, this can cause foul odors to regurgitate back into your throat and cause bad breath. Other foods that are considered protein-dense are beef, chicken and fish.
Dairy products. Foods that are easily digested can cause bad breath as they more readily invite all the bacteria inside the body. One such food is milk products. When dairy is rotten, it produces a foul smelling odor. After some time, the fume created from digested dairy rises up to the mouth and causes a bad smell if you do not brush your teeth regularly.
Spices. Many spices originating from many different parts of the world cause bad breath and bad body odor. They typically contain sulfur which when ingested is absorbed by the bloodstream leading to bad breath when talking. The gas follows the tract and is expelled through the mouth as well as through the skin as body odor.
Acidic foods. The oral cavity has a normal pH of 6.5. If the pH goes more acidic, bacterial development is encouraged. Hence, beware of foods with high acidic content such as coffee and many citric juices. Among the citrus juices the ones with the highest acidic content include tomato juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grapefruit juice. We know that acids make the bacteria reproduce much faster. In order to decrease the production of odorous sulfur compounds, the acid environment needs to be neutralized.
Alcohol. Alcohol is the basis of many beverages like wine, beer and hard liquor. It is used quite often in laboratories to dry out hard areas in test tubes and beakers. The same thing happens in the oral cavity. 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. In consequence, bad odor is produced.
Choline-rich food. Choline is a water soluble nutrient found in certain foods and cause bad breath. Not only does choline cause bad breath in some individuals it also causes bad body odor. Good examples of how foods high in choline can cause bad breath are boiled eggs and peanuts. Other choline-rich foods are beef liver, cauliflower, brown rice and almonds.