Causes of bad breath
- Garlic and onion: The smell can stay in your system for up to 72 hrs.
- Spicy Food.
- Skipping Breakfast.
- Food stuck in your teeth, gums or on your tongue.
- Dry mouth, gum disease, or cavities.
- High protein & Dairy products Sugary Candies & Drinks.
- Weight loss.
- Carb-restrictive diets.
- Other issues like kidney or respiratory disorders.
Has this happened to you? You’re talking to some colleagues or a group of friends when someone discreetly offers you some mints with a knowing smile. As much as your insides freeze with embarrassment, there’s not much you can do, other than accept one and swallow it along with your pride.
While gum and mint are temporary fixes to bad breath – or halitosis – do you know what actually causes it? When the bacteria in your mouth break down sulfur-containing protein – contained in skin cells, residual food particles, it could result in bad breath. The source of sulfur-containing protein could be shedding skin cells on the inside of your cheeks, residual food particles in your mouth, or even post-nasal drips. Sulfur – whose smell is compared to that of rotten eggs – is usually the culprit behind bad breath. Sometimes, bad breath could also be an indication of an underlying medical condition. But, turns out, you can eat and drink your way to fresh-smelling breath!1
Most of us drink far too little water throughout the day. Not only can this increase your risk of dehydration, indigestion problems, premature aging, and stomach ulcers – but also reduces the generation of bacteria-fighting saliva. A constant supply of saliva is essential for washing away decomposed dead cells and food particles on your tongue and inside your mouth. If your body is running on a low supply of water, it will cut down on generating enough saliva. The result? Your mouth becomes the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive and multiply.2
An apple a day keeps the dentist away! Apples are rich in oxidized polyphenols that help counter bad breath. Also, as bizarre as it may sound, apples can actually act as a natural toothbrush for your mouth. Apples are loaded with fiber, and this means you need to chew quite a bit before you swallow. Every time you bite into an apple and proceed to chew it, you are actually scraping your teeth, tongue, and gums clean of bacteria and food particles that cause bad breath. Plus, the act of chewing also encourages saliva-production. This further facilitates the removal of odor-causing bacteria as well as keeps your mouth well-hydrated so that your breath smells fresh.3
This humble spice qualifies as one of the best cures for bad breath. Cinnamon has potent antimicrobial properties that kill foul odor-causing bacteria. It also contains cinnamaldehyde, a fragrant compound that drives bad breath away. Also, chewing on a stick of cinnamon after your meal will give your breath that wonderful fragrance that brings back such fond memories of Christmas. Need we say more?
Ever stopped to wonder why you spend so much on breath mints when you can use something more natural at almost one-fourth the price? The market is full of fresh herbs, particularly parsley, that not only make for excellent garnishes but can also put an end to your bad breath problems.
The reason why eating an onion bagel or a plate of garlic bread makes your mouth smell so strongly is because onions and garlic contain odorous sulfur compounds. These compounds can even build up in your mouth if it turns too dry, resulting in a nasty-smelling breath. Parsley is a leafy green herb that is abundant in chlorophyll, a compound that neutralizes the nauseating smell of sulfur compounds. Parsley also has a natural deodorizing effect on your breath – so munching on a sprig of this herb during a meal will keep your breath smelling fresh and clean all through the day!
Foul ammonia-like odor can be the result of a mineral build-up in your mouth. When your kidney fails to filter minerals from your blood, the minerals travel with the blood to your mouth, resulting in a mineral build-up. This could lead to bad breath. Berries are good for your kidney and improve its function, thus indirectly combating bad breath. Also, berries are filled with water. Eating a handful of berries, especially blueberries, every morning will keep you hydrated and reduce the dryness in your mouth, which is one of the major causes of bad breath.4 5
A few almonds a day will keep your teeth and gums healthy and help you bid farewell to foul breath. Researchers have observed that almonds can lower your risk of gum disease – a cause of bad breath – by almost 30 percent. Additionally, almonds also help repair damaged teeth enamel and make your roots stronger. This helps fight cavities and in turn, bad breath.6 7
8. Lemon Juice
A delightful yet healthy beverage, lemon juice has been used since ancient times to fight bad breath. Its antimicrobial property eliminates the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth and reduces the sulfur buildup within the mouth. Lemon juice also exhibits deodorizing activity, which imparts a pleasant smell. Also, the juice hydrates dry mouth and busts bad breath.8
8. Black Coffee
There was a point when dental experts claimed that coffee can exacerbate your bad breath issues that had coffee-lovers crying foul. New research, however, now claims that coffee extract can, in fact, put an end to all that annoying bacteria that is responsible for turning your breath stale.
There is a catch though – you have to make sure that your coffee is sans any milk, sugar, or cream. Which means you have to stick to drinking black coffee. It is the coffee additives, and not the coffee itself, that is the reason for causing foul-smelling breath. Also, black coffee is a much healthier option!
9. Green Or Herbal Tea
This popular hot drink is not just a treat for a tea lover’s taste buds but can also benefit the rest of one’s oral cavity as well. Green tea is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that reduce the concentration of stinky volatile sulfur compounds in the air inside our mouth.9 It also fights off and blocks odor-causing bacteria from growing and aggravating stale breath. Furthermore, green tea is also an excellent way to keep yourself hydrated; so feel free to indulge yourself in a cup or two every day.
Drink plenty of clean, fluoride-free water throughout the day to keep your mouth from getting dry, and you’ll be surprised to find how much it can affect the way your breath smells. Along with these foods, make sure you maintain oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
|↑1||Why does my breath stink? University of Minnesota.|
|↑2||Give Bad Breath the Brush-Off. University of Rochester Medical Center.|
|↑3||Garlic Breath? Science Says Eat an Apple. The Ohio State University.|
|↑4||Breath odor. Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Nair, Anand R., Carrie M. Elks, Jorge Vila, Fabio Del Piero, Daniel B. Paulsen, and Joseph Francis. “A blueberry-enriched diet improves renal function and reduces oxidative stress in metabolic syndrome animals: potential mechanism of TLR4-MAPK signaling pathway.” PLoS One 9, no. 11 (2014): e111976.|
|↑6||Eat good fats and floss for healthy gums. UF Health Communications.|
|↑7||Breath odor. MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑8||Oikeh, Ehigbai I., Ehimwenma S. Omoregie, Faith E. Oviasogie, and Kelly Oriakhi. “Phytochemical, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities of different citrus juice concentrates.” Food science & nutrition 4, no. 1 (2016): 103-109.|
|↑9||Lodhia, Parth, Ken Yaegaki, Ali Khakbaznejad, Toshio Imai, Tsutomu Sato, Tomoko Tanaka, Takatoshi Murata, and Takeshi Kamoda. “Effect of green tea on volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 54, no. 1 (2008): 89-94.|