The Top 6 Foods That Cause Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment for many. While poor oral hygiene is a common cause, the foods we eat can significantly contribute to this condition. Let’s dive into the various foods causing bad breath, their effects, and how to mitigate their impact.

Understanding the Basics of Bad Breath

Before delving into specific foods, it's essential to understand the mechanism behind bad breath.

Bad breath is often the result of foul-smelling bacteria that reside in the mouth. These bacteria feed on food particles, producing sulphur compounds that lead to an unpleasant odour.

Understanding the Basics of Bad Breath
  1. Oral Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause. If you don't brush and floss regularly, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath.
  2. Food: The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odour. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices, can also cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs, and affect your breath.
  3. Tobacco Products: Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, as well as stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate your gums.
  4. Dry Mouth: Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odours. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased.
  5. Dental Issues: Gum disease can cause bad breath. Other dental causes include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).
  6. Mouth, Nose and Throat Conditions: Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odour. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, can also cause bad breath.
  7. Other Medical Disorders: Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odour as a result of chemicals they produce. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can be associated with bad breath.
  8. Medications: Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
  9. Dieting: Extremely low-carb diets can cause ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. This can cause a fruity and sometimes unpleasant smell on the breath.
  10. Poor Diet: A diet lacking in certain nutrients can also contribute to bad breath.

The Top Offenders: Foods That Cause Bad Breath

Foods That Cause Bad Breath

Certain foods are notorious for their impact on breath. Below are the usual suspects:

1. Garlic and Onions

These contain sulphur compounds that not only affect the breath after consumption but can also lead to a lingering garlic residue in the mouth.

2. Dairy Products

Products like cheese and milk contain amino acids that can be converted by oral bacteria into smelly sulphur compounds.

3. High-Protein Foods

Foods with high protein content can increase the production of sulphur compounds by mouth bacteria.

4. Canned Fish

Similar to other high-protein foods, canned fish can cause bad breath as the proteins are broken down into foul-smelling byproducts.

5. Acidic Foods and Drinks

Items such as coffee, pasta sauce, and citrus fruits create an acidic environment conducive to the growth of oral bacteria.

  • Sugary Foods and Drinks

  • Sugars can feed the bacteria in the mouth, which then release acidic byproducts that contribute to bad breath.

    The Impact of Foods on Oral Health

    A table highlighting how various foods affect oral health:

    The impact of bad breath goes beyond physical discomfort; it can also affect one’s self-confidence and social life. Individuals may become self-conscious and avoid close contact during social interactions.

    For those struggling with foods causing bad breath, seeking advice from a dental professional, such as a clinical associate professor at New York University College, can be beneficial. Moreover, technological aids, including breath-analysis devices and smartphone apps, can help monitor and manage bad breath.

    Strategies to Combat Foods Causing Bad Breath

    Improved Oral Hygiene:

    Maintaining good oral hygiene is fundamental in combating bad breath. This includes:

    Step_2_Brush - Bliss Oral Care
    • Brushing Teeth: Brushing at least twice a day with Sonic Whitening Toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste such as the Bliss Oral Care Teeth Whitening Primer helps remove food debris and plaque, a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Brushing also helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cause bad breath.
    • Flossing: Using dental floss daily helps remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth and under the gumline, areas where the toothbrush can't always reach.
    • Tongue Cleaning: The tongue harbours bacteria and food particles. Brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper can remove such contributors to bad breath.
    • Regular Dental Visits: Regular check-ups and professional teeth cleaning can remove stubborn plaque and tartar, and your dentist can detect and treat periodontal disease and other dental problems that may be the source of bad breath.

    Saliva Flow:

    Saliva is essential because it:

    • Cleanses the Mouth: It helps cleanse the mouth and remove particles that cause odours.
    • Neutralizes Acids: Saliva neutralises acids produced by dental plaque and washes away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks.

    To stimulate saliva flow:

    • Chew Sugar-Free Gum: This can help stimulate saliva flow, especially if you have dry mouth.
    • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water regularly can help keep the mouth moist and is especially important in individuals with xerostomia.

    Staying Hydrated:

    Hydration is key to preventing dry mouth and ensuring a healthy saliva flow. Water helps in:

    • Moistening the Mouth: Keeping the mouth moist can prevent bad breath caused by dry mouth.
    • Rinsing Out Food Particles: Drinking water throughout the day can help rinse away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath.

    Dietary Adjustments:

    What you eat affects the air you exhale. Certain dietary changes can help prevent bad breath:

    • Eating a Balanced Diet: Crunchy, healthy foods like fruits and vegetables increase saliva flow during eating to help wash away food particles and bacteria.
    • Reducing Intake of Offending Foods: Foods with strong odours, like onions and garlic, and acidic beverages like coffee can lead to bad breath.
    • Avoiding Sugary Foods: Sugar is a primary food source for bacteria that cause bad breath.
    • Eating Breakfast: A good breakfast helps cleanse your mouth and kickstart saliva production for the day.

    Oral Breath Spray:

    Oral Breath Spray

    These sprays can temporarily mask bad breath and can have the following effects:

    • Mask Odours: They often contain a pleasant scent that can mask bad breath temporarily.
    • Antiseptic Properties: Some sprays have antiseptic properties that can help kill bacteria, which are the source of bad breath.
    • Moisturising Agents: Sprays designed for dry mouth contain substances that can mimic saliva, thus moistening the mouth and helping to manage bad breath.

    Unmatched Freshness in Every Spritz

    Dive into the world of flawless freshness and impeccable oral hygiene with the remarkable Bliss Oral Care Breath Spray. While the market is brimming with options, discover why Bliss stands out as the pinnacle of breath sprays.

    Unveil the secret to captivating closeness and undeniable allure with each spray of Bliss—your new ally in maintaining oral freshness. Each mist delivers not just a burst of invigorating mint but a commitment to oral care designed by those who know best—dentists.

    Savour the lushness of premium mint oils blended with an innovative antibacterial formula that targets bad breath right at its source. Its size is as impressive as its effect; this breath spray’s sleek design allows it to become an indispensable addition to your daily essentials, sliding effortlessly into any clutch or pocket for a burst of freshness whenever you need it.

    Crafted with meticulous care in the UK, the Bliss Oral Care Breath Spray experience is one of a kind:

    • Alcohol-Free: Revel in the refreshment without the harshness.
    • Sugar-Free: Indulge in the taste without the guilt.
    • Vitamin E Enriched: Nurture your gums with each spritz.
    • High Xylitol Content: Fend off bacteria and promote a healthier mouth.
    • Exquisite Flavour: A concoction of the finest mint oils for long-lasting freshness.
    • Environmentally Conscious: Embrace sustainability with our Glass Refill options.

    While our favourite foods may bring us joy, some can also be the culprits behind morning breath and unwelcome odours throughout the day. Understanding the relationship between what we eat and how our breath smells is critical in the quest to fight bad breath. Foods high in proteins, those creating acidic conditions like coffee or pasta sauce, and even dairy products, can turn our mouth into a breeding ground for foul-smelling bacteria.

    Thankfully, incorporating Bliss Oral Care Breath Spray into our oral hygiene routine offers a quick and effective remedy to these pungent problems. Not only does it provide a burst of minty freshness on demand, but its antibacterial properties also go to work neutralising odour-causing bacteria brought on by our dietary choices. 


    When used alongside regular brushing, flossing, and mindful eating habits, breath sprays can play a significant role in maintaining that just-brushed clean feeling. So next time you indulge in your favourite garlicky pasta or sip that morning latte, remember that a fresh, confident smile is just a spritz away with the right oral hygiene allies by your side

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    How long can foods cause bad breath to linger?

    Depending on the food, bad breath can linger for a few hours to several days after consumption.

    Can chewing gum really help bad breath?

    Yes, chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva, which helps to cleanse the mouth and freshen breath.

    Is bad breath only caused by the foods we eat?

    No, whole foods play a significant role, other factors such as poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and medical conditions can also lead to bad breath.

    Can brushing your teeth immediately after eating prevent bad breath?

    Brushing helps remove food debris and bacteria, but some foods may still cause bad breath due to systemic absorption.

    Can mouthwash eliminate bad breath from foods?

    Mouthwash can temporarily mask bad breath, but it may not eliminate the underlying cause. It’s best used in conjunction with other oral health practices.