How to avoid eating foods that cause bad breath

How to avoid eating foods that cause bad breath

May 2, 2024

Bad breath is considered an unpleasant phenomenon for many people, and is caused by multiple factors, including eating certain types of food. In this article, we will highlight the foods that can cause bad breath, and we will explain the relationship between these foods and the appearance of that unwanted odor and how to get rid of them

Foods that cause bad breath

The spread of bad breath is a phenomenon that raises dissatisfaction among many people, and this unwanted odor is emitted as a result of several reasons, including the consumption of certain types of food, the most prominent of which are:

Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are two of the main foods that are considered a major source of bad breath for several hours, or even days, after eating them, as this is because they contain volatile sulfur compounds, such as allyl methyl sulfide. When these compounds are ingested, they are absorbed into the blood and transported to the lungs, where they are exhaled from the body, which contributes to bad breath, although onions contain the same sulfur compounds as garlic, the difference lies in the release of these compounds through the skin, which leads to bad body odor and bad breath.

Protein-rich foods

Protein-rich foods, such as meat, seafood, and cheese, are a potential contributor to the increased likelihood of bad breath, due to several mechanisms, as for example, the breakdown of proteins from food by bacteria in the mouth causes the secretion of waste that results in an unpleasant odor. Eating large amounts of protein can also lead to increased production of ketone compounds and the appearance of acetone odor and in addition, eating excessive amounts of protein can cause the body to produce ammonia compounds during digestion, increasing the likelihood of bad breath and one of the main foods that may cause bad breath as a result of it containing large amounts of protein is peanut butter, which accumulates in the mouth for hours after eating it, which increases the possibility of bad breath.

Milk and dairy products

Dairy products are known to be a rich source of protein, and as mentioned earlier, this protein is the cause of bad breath, however, another reason why dairy products are foods that cause bad breath is that they break down in the mouth and release sulfur-containing amino acids, such as hydrogen sulfide, which causes bad breath.

In such cases, mouthwash may not help treat the problem effectively, but brushing the teeth and a fluoride-containing paste will help kill the harmful bacteria that cause this bad odor, as drinking water also helps get rid of bacteria and food residue that accumulate in the mouth.

Coffee and tea

There are some drinks that contribute to this problem as well, such as coffee and tea.

For example, coffee contains sulfur, a key compound responsible for the unpleasant odor associated with eating and drinking, as drinking coffee has also been linked to an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux, which is also one of the causes of bad breath.

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Chronic alcohol consumption leads to negative effects on the mouth and liver, as alcohol is oxidized in these areas, leading to the production of secondary compounds with an unpleasant odor and in addition, alcohol causes dry mouth, which may contribute to bad breath as well.


Smoking plays a big role in the appearance of bad breath, as there are several mechanisms that explain how smoking affects mouth odor and first, tobacco contains a variety of chemicals that interact with saliva and bacteria in the mouth, releasing unpleasant odors, secondly, smoking can cause significantly dry mouth, and when the mouth is dry, the flow of saliva is reduced, which contributes to the multiplication of bacteria and the release of an unpleasant odor, third, smoking increases the risk of tissue damage in the mouth and gingivitis, which leads to increased bacterial secretions and proliferation and the appearance of bad breath and finally, smoking can cause inflammation in the sinuses and throat, which increases the buildup of mucus and bacteria in the throat and mouth, leading to bad breath.

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Tips to get rid of bad breath

Here are some tips to get rid of bad breath:

  • Maintain oral hygiene: Brush your teeth regularly after each meal, and use dental floss or floss regularly to remove food waste and bacteria from between the teeth.
  • Tongue cleaning: Use a toothbrush or lingual cartridge to clean the tongue after brushing your teeth, as bacteria and waste collect on the surface of the tongue and contribute to bad breath.
  • Drink plenty of water: Drinking water helps increase saliva secretion and moisturize the mouth, which helps reduce bacterial buildup and dehydration that can cause bad breath.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and smoking: Drinking alcohol and smoking can cause dry mouth and tissue irritation, increasing the likelihood of bad breath.
  • Visit the dentist regularly: Visit the dentist to have your teeth checked and cleaned regularly, as dental problems such as cavities and gum infections can cause bad breath.
  • Eat refreshing foods: Eating fresh and refreshing foods such as leafy vegetables and fresh fruits can help clean the mouth and improve its smell.
  • Use sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum can help increase saliva secretion and reduce bad breath, but avoid gum that contains sugar to avoid increasing tooth decay.

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