How Your Diet Affects Your Breath

Foods do not have as much of an effect on breath odors as most people assume. Most of the odors that occur in the mouth are caused by bad bacteria on the tongue and around the teeth that produce sulfur compounds, which are a harbinger of halitosis. This does not mean that your diet has no effect on your breath. What you put into your body affects every aspect of its functions in some way, which is why it is important to eat healthy foods.

 Foods That Make a Stink

Garlic and onions are the first foods most people think of when they think of bad breath. This is not just a stereotype. After the bloodstream absorbs the sulfur compounds present in these foods, the odors will be evident on the breath and in the sweat and urine for hours.
Dairy products may also cause bad breath issues for a couple of different reasons. When any traces of dairy remain in the mouth, the bad bacteria are particularly attracted to them. This causes a release of the sulfur compounds previously mentioned. You can prevent this from happening by swishing water around in your mouth to rinse out loose particles or drops of liquid remaining, and then brushing your teeth. The other reason that dairy might trigger halitosis is not quite as easily resolved, as it is a result of lactose intolerance. If the bacteria in your gut cannot process lactose, the bad breath you experience after dairy consumption is probably due to the gasses produced.

Any food particles or residue left in the mouth after a meal or snack will feed the bad bacteria and eventually cause bad breath as well as other issues that could include cavities and gum disease. This is one of the reasons that good oral hygiene is so important. It is a good idea to brush and floss at least twice daily and visit your dentist for a checkup and a professional cleaning twice each year.

Does Your Breath Have a Drinking Problem?

One of the common causes of bad breath is a lack of sufficient saliva in the mouth. One of saliva’s many critical functions is that it fights the bacteria that cause bad breath. Alcoholic drinks have a dehydrating effect on the body, which can create a temporary saliva deficiency. Without enough saliva to fight the bacteria, it is free to produce copious amounts of the sulfur compound and create quite a stink in your mouth. Ironically, many mouth rinses that are supposed to create good breath have alcohol in them and can give the bad bacteria a favorable environment for growth.

Like alcohol, coffee may also cause a drying effect in the mouth. Coffee is also like onions and garlic in that it has a strong odor that gets into the bloodstream and affects the entire body until it passes through. You can counteract this outcome by drinking plenty of water to flush the system and stay hydrated. Sodas and energy drinks increase the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth, as well, and should be avoided as much as possible.

Practicing good oral hygiene and drinking lots of water can overcome many of the bad breath issues caused by food and drinks. Even though food is not always the culprit, you may want to avoid the especially pungent ones on the day of an important social function in order to ensure fresh breath.
Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at with any questions or concerns.