Food that causes bad breath

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Did you know that there are certain foods that may lead to bad breath?

That spoiling action is due to anaerobic bacteria breaking down proteins in that particular food. In milk, the odor of sour milk is caused by relatives of those bugs that create bad breath when they break down proteins in the milk (and essentially in all dairy foods). The same analogy applies to meat if it sits out too long.

Everyone knows that garlic and onions will create bad breath. It’s because the odorous molecules in onions and garlic are sulfur compounds themselves known as Mercaptans. Sulfur is nature’s way of producing odors. You’re all familiar with the skunk. Its odor is created by a defense and/or attack mechanism. Skunk odor is composed of skatoles, which are naturally occurring sulfur compounds. In a similar manner, bacteria in your mouth generates the volatile sulfur compounds of bad breath and taste disorders.

There are 4 food categories that will result in an increase of sulfur production because these categories have a stimulating affect on the bacteria that cause bad breath:

1. Drying Agents

2. Dense Protein Foods

3. Sugars

4. Acidic Foods

Let’s look carefully at each of these food categories and how they provoke bad breath!


The most frequent drying agent in food is alcohol. Alcohol of course, is the cornerstone of all”adult” beverages like beer, wine, and hard liquor. Additionally it is used, sadly, in many mouthwashes that you find in the grocery stores, which only makes a bad breath problem worse.

Alcohol, known as a desiccant, is used quite often in labs to”dry out” hard to reach areas in test tubes and beakers. The same end result takes place in the oral cavity.

Although cigarettes are not really food, smoking may be the quickest way to dry your mouth out, with alcohol being the second. If you smoke, you’re bound to have bad breath!


Dairy foods have a reputation for creating bad breath. An article that appeared in the”Los Angeles Times” once noted that over 50 percent of the population in Southern California was”lactose intolerant”. With regards to bad breath, many of these people (numbering in the tens of millions) end up with more dense proteins accessible as poor breath gas for the bacteria than those who have no problem with dairy foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.. The outcome is a buildup of amino acids, which can be easily converted to volatile sulfur compounds by the anaerobic bacteria found inside the surface of the tongue and throat.

To a lesser extent, people have the identical problem with other kinds of food that are considered to be dense in protein such as poultry, beef, and fish.

This condition is named TMA (Trimethylaminuria) and may be called the”Fish Odor Syndrome,” since the odor produced is similar to decaying fish. The odor includes sulfur compounds, plus nitrogen compounds (amines). Individuals with this condition must abstain from beans and other kinds of food which are dense in protein.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could eliminate bad breath by chewing on M&Ms?

That’s what the makers of Altoids would have you think. Altoids, and other products of the same ilk, are trying to fool the general public into thinking that a powerful”good” taste in your mouth is equivalent to the”freshness” of your breath. This is so anti-scientific it is absurd! If you think about it for a minute, it really doesn’t make any sense.

By using concentrated mint flavorings, your taste buds pick up mint for a taste. However, Altoids contains two different types of sugar that again, are a fuel for the bacteria to reproduce and create more sulfur compounds – thus bad breath. In addition, the frightening part is that other germs can take the sugars and produce glycan strands, which in turn wind up causing thick layers of plaque on the enamel of your teeth and around your gums.

As you can’t smell your own breath, then you just go merrily along with that terrific strong mint flavor in your mouth, while others close to you are backing away – backing away from the increased bad breath, decayed teeth, and gross, swollen, bleeding gums!

Stay away from candies, mints, and chewing gum if they contain sugar!


Foods with a high acidic content are a problem also. pH is a term used to describe the acidity of an environment. The oral cavity has a normal pH of 6.5 (7 is deemed neutral). Some of the foods that you should watch out for are coffee and several citrus juices. However, tea is okay. One of the citrus juices the ones with the highest acidic material include tomato juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grapefruit juice.

In order to decrease the production of odorous sulfur compounds, the acid environment needs to be neutralized.

What can you learn from all this? Avoiding foods that contribute to, or even causebad breath is critical if you want clean fresh breath. While this is a difficult task, being aware of those halitosis causing elements is the first step in developing confidence in your breath. Additionally, it is important to use oral care products that are free of alcohol, sugar, which also have a high pH level.

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