8 Foods That Can Cause Bad Breath

Often, bad breath is caused by an underlying issue and requires a trip to the dentist - for example, gum disease and gingivitis may lead to bad breath and should be treated as soon as possible. However, bad breath causes don't always mean you need to book a dental appointment. Often, it simply occurs due to eating particular kinds of foods. 

While eating these eight foods that cause bad breath may not necessarily be bad for you, it's something you likely want to avoid, especially if you're going on a date or planning on being up close and personal with others! 

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol is far from healthy. While the worst effects of alcohol are more harmful than bad breath, there's no denying that it does cause an unpleasant smell from the mouth. There are a couple of reasons alcohol leads to bad breath – first, it contains sulphites, which is known for its bad breath-causing ability. On top of that, excessive alcohol consumption can quickly lead to dehydration, which can also affect your breath. The best thing to do is avoid alcohol as much as possible. Still, if you've had a heavy night of drinking and are looking for a solution, drinking water will tackle dehydration and prevent bacteria from growing. 

  1. Onions

When you think about what foods cause bad breath, one of the first you'll likely think of is onions. Onions are tasty but potent vegetables that form the base of many different dishes, from curries to sauces. Unfortunately, eating any of these can lead to bad breath due to the sulfur compounds that enter your bloodstream after consumption. 

  1. Coffee

Coffee is the warm, welcoming beverage millions of people start their day with, thanks to its tasty flavor and ability to wake you up. Be careful when you're chugging multiple cups of joe, though, as it can quickly lead to an unpleasant smell. The reason it causes bad breath is similar to onions – the presence of the sulfuric compounds found in coffee. Plus, coffee is highly acidic, which can cause pH imbalances that will also contribute to poor-smelling breath. 

  1. Garlic 

Garlic is fantastic – not only does it provide a range of health benefits, but it's a wonderfully tasty ingredient that can liven up most dishes. There is one downside, though: it causes bad breath. Garlic has a remarkable ability to linger on the breath long after you've finished eating it, which can often be worse when the garlic is eaten raw. Plus, ingesting the garlic can increase the amount of sulfur containing gases in the mouth, adding to that unpleasant odor. Chewing some sugar free gum may help lessen the bad breath caused by eating garlic. 

  1. Canned Fish 

Canned fish makes an easy meal, as the fish inside is already cooked. However, be aware that your tuna sandwich may quickly lead to bad breath. The reason canned fish is more likely to give you bad breath compared to fresh fish is that it has the chance to oxidize within the can, which creates more of an odor. 

  1. Tomatoes 

Tomatoes are a great addition to any diet, as they contain lots of vitamins, potassium, and other healthy nutrients. They're not so great for your breath, though. Tomatoes are highly acidic, which is something that bacteria love! With this increase in bacteria growth, your breath may start to smell a little funky. To avoid this, make sure you drink plenty of water whenever consuming tomatoes, whether they're a part of your lunch salad or part of a sauce. 

  1. Pasta Sauce 

Yes – pasta sauce can cause bad breath! It might not be a likely culprit, but pasta sauce contains tomatoes and can result in bad breath because of the odor causing bacteria it contributes to. The advice here is the same as tomatoes: have a glass of water by your side whenever you consume pasta sauce to reduce the risk of bad breath following your meal. It's a good way to keep the bacteria in check. 

8. Sugar 

You likely already know just how bad sugar is for the teeth. There's a reason your dentist tells you to avoid consuming too much chocolate or candy! Sugary foods don't only lead to cavities – they can also cause bad breath. There are a few reasons behind this. One is due to how the sugar reacts to the mouth's bacteria, which leads to a sour-like smell. Then, there's the more obvious reason of sugar being the cause of plaque build-up and cavities, which often go hand-in-hand with bad breath. It's best to enjoy a diet low in sugar to keep your mouth happy and healthy. While a little sugar or treat now and again won't cause too much harm, overconsumption will cause dental issues. 

What About Foods that Reduce Bad Breath?

There is some good news! Not all foods cause bad breath; in fact, some actively prevent it, including: 

  • Apples
  • Basil 
  • Green Tea
  • Lemons
  • Sugar-Free Gum/Mints 
  • Mint 
  • Celery 
  • Carrots

So, if you are serious about never having your breath smell anything less than lovely, introduce more of these foods into your diet! Not only will they help prevent an unpleasant smell, but many of them are all-round healthy foods. 

Other Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

Prevention goes beyond avoiding foods like pasta sauce, coffee, and canned tuna – to ensure your breath never smells unpleasant, you should focus more on good oral health. Brushing your teeth two to three times daily is essential; as is flossing between your teeth regularly. Regularly seeing a good dentist is also key here, as your dentist can perform a deeper clean during appointments while spotting any dental issues before they worsen. 

If you are looking for a new dentist, the team here at BAF Dentistry are always happy to take on new patients. Whether you have no pressing dental issues but would like a new regular dentist or you are having problems (such as ongoing bad breath), we are here to help. Get in touch today!