Have you ever eaten a dish, and about ten seconds later, someone asks, “What’s that smell?” If you’ve ever experienced this scenario, you might have been embarrassed or concerned about the odor. However, there is no need to worry! About 30% of people in the world suffer from some form of bad breath, or halitosis as it’s medically termed, and there are plenty of preventative measures you can take!
Before we examine prevention, let’s discuss some foods that can cause bad breath. Different types of food are made up of key elements that cause the unpleasant odor, such as sulfur. Some foods that can be a causal factor for bad breath are:
Garlic, Onions, and Spicy Food
Garlic, onions, and spicy foods tend to contain higher amounts of sulfur compounds within its makeup. When ingested, the sulfur compounds linger in your mouth, are absorbed in the bloodstream, and are expelled when you breathe out. While the food particles remain in the mouth, bacteria begins to form and adds to the sulfur compound causing a purely undesirable odor.
Coffee and Other Beverages
Cutting out that morning of coffee before school or work may not be necessary; however, you may want to take combative measures by sipping on some water after you finish your nice cup o’ joe! Coffee and caffeinated products can cause dry mouth which is a significant contributor to bad breath. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath because there is a lack of saliva formed to naturally clean out the food particles. Without saliva, bacteria will manifest and give off that obnoxious odor.
Tuna and Fish
Most people naturally detest the smell of fish, while others believe tuna salad and crackers are the perfect snack! Aside from the health benefits you gain from fish, such as protein and fish oil for the brain, it can definitely cause a foul odor. When caught, a fish gives off a compound called: trimethylamine (TMA) which causes that smelly odor.
Now, you’ve probably been given all of the easy remedies to try after eating one of these foods such as: mouthwash, a mint candy, or flavored chewing gum. Although these may solve the issue, it’s only a temporary fix! Now, I’m not saying throw out your listerine bottles or peppermint candies, but it’s important to use them in conjunction with healthy, effective oral hygiene habits.
Regardless of the food you decide to consume, be sure to always floss daily and brush as least twice a day. When cleaning your teeth, also make sure to scrub the gum area and tongue as food particles can get trapped there as well. If you believe that you’re maintaining brushing and flossing isn’t enough, and you’re still experiencing bad breath, contact your doctor or dentist as you may be suffering for a more serious health concern.
Bad breath should not discourage you from eating the foods you love, rather, it should encourage you to practice healthy oral hygiene habits!