We all hate dealing with bad breath. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s, it’s never a fun experience. And even though you may brush, floss, and use mouthwash everyday, you still find that your breath can become rather nasty by the end of the day (or less fortunately, the middle). Great oral hygiene is a start to combating bad breath, however, sometimes our bad breath is directly related to the food we do (and don’t) eat. There are plenty of foods that cause bad breath, and some that help fight the awful smells. Here’s our list of the top foods for each.
The Worst Foods For Your Breath
No one should be surprised to learn that garlic is tough on breath. Though extremely healthy for you, it’ll leave you mouth steaming with funky smells. This is because, not only is it a hard smell to wash out of the mouth, garlic is absorbed into the bloodstream by a chemical known as allyl methyl sulfide. As it travels through your blood, it makes it to your lungs and pushes out of you like smoke out a chimney. Brush your teeth all you want, it can’t save you from the power of smelly garlic.
Similar to garlic, onions contain an amino acid known as allin. Once cut, the amino acid turns to propenyl sulfuric acid, the chemical responsible for making you tear up when cutting this veggie. And if you think it smells bad when cutting, just imagine how your friends feel when they have to hold a conversation with you. Eating raw onions can send your breath down a slippery slope from bad to so much worse, so we recommend cooking onions before eating, at least for the sake of your friends.
Can something that smells good give you bad breath? Coffee is your case and point. The acidity of coffee can linger inside your mouth for a long time, making saliva its sour friend. As well, the acidity from the coffee can neutralize the acid in your stomach allowing gastric juices to make an appearance out of the mouth. Not good for breath… Not good for anything.
The mother of all bad breath inducers, Indian curries are a mix of onion, garlic, fennel, and other spicy ingredients that will send anyone in a 3-foot radius of you running for the hills (if they don’t pass out first).
The Best Foods For Your Breath
Crunchy Fruit and Veggies
To combat all of these breath-killing foods, you need a defense strategy, and first in line are crunchy fruits and vegetables. Apples, carrots, celery and other fiber-rich fruits and veggies are your natural toothbrush. Their fibrous texture is able to push plaque and nasty food stuck in your teeth out of your mouth. As well, they increase saliva production, which helps rinse out the mouth.
Yogurt is truly an amazing food. It’s made of probiotics, bacteria that’s good for you. When consumed, it’s able to reduce the level of hydrogen sulfide in the mouth (that’s the stuff that makes your breath bad in the first place). Of course, make sure you’re choosing the right yogurt, the kind with active cultures. Avoid any yogurt that has too much sugar or is over-processed.
Vitamin C-heavy Fruits
Fruits high in vitamin C such as berries, oranges, and melons can help reduce the amount of bacteria growth in the mouth. High in vitamins and acidity, it’s able to keep bacteria at bay along with helping prevent periodontal disease.
For those of you still wondering what that little green piece of grass on your dinner plate is, here’s your answer: parsley. A natural palate cleanser, parsley contains chlorophyll which helps reduce bad breath smells, as well as makes your mouth lose the taste of all the food you may have eaten. But don’t stop there; many herbs can help fight breath including coriander, spearmint, tarragon, and rosemary.
Of course, the simplest food of all is one of the best to help cure bad breath. Much of the time, bad breath is caused by food that’s just stuck in your teeth and gums. Water helps flush out the mouth and gets it to a point of freshness. It’s like putting your dishes in the dishwasher. They don’t just sit there with the hopes that all the food stuck on the plate goes away. They’re bombarded with water splashing against them so they can be clean and clear. The same goes for your teeth, the more water you drink, the fresher your mouth will be.
Though some foods cannot be avoided and will give you harsh breath from time to time. Most of the time, the best way to keep your breath fresh and healthy is by drinking lots of water, then brushing and flossing after every meal. Don’t wait too long afterwards because that’s prime time for bacteria to build up and make a home. If you want fresh breath proper oral hygiene will go a long way.