What you eat can have a huge impact on your health and your breath. All foods can impact your breath. When we eat, food debris can stick to our teeth and tongue, encouraging bacteria growth in our mouth. When bacteria feed on food, especially carbohydrates, they produce acids that give off an odor. On top of mouth bacteria, strong-smelling foods also can cause bad breath when they enter the bloodstream. Some of these foods like onions are well known culprits, but there are other more surprising foods on the list that should be avoided before that career-altering interview or first date.
- Dairy Products – Dairy is a surprising culprit of bad breath. Besides creating excess mucous in your throat, dairy contains particular proteins. As these proteins are digested, sulfur byproducts are created as well as bacteria essential to digestion of dairy. The combination can cause some seriously odiferous breath.
- Protein – speaking of protein, if you’re a fan of protein drinks or the ever-popular Paleo diet, you might be suffering from “protein breath.” As the body breaks down protein, ammonia is created as a by-product. That ammonia can cause pretty bad breath.
- Onions – Onions, especially raw, are the worst cause of bad breath. Onions contain a special sulfur-like acid. And if you’ve ever smelled sulfur, you know it stinks! As onions break down in our bodies, the sulfur compounds can stick around for nearly 24 hours!
- Coffee – If you spend any time socializing at the office in the morning, you know who the coffee drinkers are. You can’t miss that breath! Coffee causes bad breath because it dries out your mouth by reducing saliva production. Saliva helps kill bad breath-causing bacteria. Because coffee is already a pungent smelling drink, as it passes through your digestive system, the after smells linger for a few hours. Plus, most people add cream (protein) and sugar and they help fuel bacteria that can cause bad breath.
- Curry – It might be one of the healthiest spices, but it is also one of the worst culprits of bad breath. Curry is a mix of several potent spices including coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and chili peppers. They combine to create a pungent odor. That odor lingers in your mouth causing some pretty horrific halitosis.
- Canned Fish – Tuna and other canned fish are filling, high in protein, and delicious! However, canned fish tend to have a strong, specific “fishy” odor. According to the American Society of Nutrition, trimethylamine (TMA) causes this odor and unfortunately, it can stick around long after your meal.
- Alcohol – The dreaded beer breath is a definite turn-off. Alcohol, including beer, dries your mouth out and increases the likelihood of bacteria breeding. The same natural process that leads to morning breath worsens alcohol-induced badbreath. As we sleep, salivary production drops to a minimum, allowing for increased growth of bacteria that leaves behind the cringe-worthy oral odor come dawn.