Bad Breath-Causing Foods to Avoid

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – occurs when unpleasant odor emanates on exhaled breath. About 20% of the general population suffers from bad breath. The most common causes of this condition are tooth decay, poor dental hygiene, and gum disease. Certain types of foods can also cause bad breath. In today’s post, we are listing down foods that cause halitosis:


Topping off our list of bad breath causing food is garlic, which is unsurprising to most people. Garlic is notorious for causing bad breath thanks to its high sulfur content. The sulfur in garlic coats the tongue, which is very difficult to remove with brushing and mouth rinsing alone. The sulfur in garlic causes a foul aftertaste and almost bitter breath odor. Once garlic is absorbed into the bloodstream, it releases allyl methyl sulfide – an odorous scent that goes into the lungs and then released through exhaled breath. The result, stinky tongue, skin, and breath!


Just like garlic, onions leave a lingering taste and odor on the tongue long after you’ve eaten it. Onions also contain allyl methyl sulfide, which is an odorous compound. It is released when the onion is crushed or ingested. Allyl methyl sulfide is absorbed into the bloodstream, causing bad breath and smelly sweat that lasts all day.

To avoid bad breath caused by onions, we recommend brushing and flossing daily. Also, rinse your mouth with an odor-neutralizing mouthwash twice for best results.


Ever wonder why milk leaves a sour taste in your mouth an hour or two after drinking it? Milk may be good for the bones but it is definitely bad news on the breath. The millions of bacteria that thrive in the mouth feed on the amino acids found in milk. The breakdown of these amino acids leads to undesirable breath. Drinking milk (or any type of dairy products, for that matter) also increases the secretion of mucus in the sinuses. This leads to low-level infection or sinusitis. Sinus infection is another common cause of halitosis.

You can avoid bad breath by reducing your consumption of milk or finding better alternatives to dairy products like soy or nut milk.


Here’s a shocker: seafood oxidizes faster in the gut, which triggers the release of odors that give you fishy breath. And the worst offender of all is canned tuna. Just like any type of seafood, tuna oxidizes quickly, especially when stored in a dark, metallic can. Unfortunately, the oxidation increases the production of trimethylamine or TMA in tuna. According to the American Society of Nutrition, TMA is an acidic compound that causes “fishy” mouth odor.

If you love eating fish, you do not have to eliminate it from your diet. After eating fish, brush your teeth thoroughly and floss your teeth. Rinse your mouth twice to dislodge any remnants of the fish. TMA binds to water so mouth rinsing after brushing will reduce bad breath significantly!


A cup of coffee will perk you up and wake the senses but once it hits the mouth, the natural enzymes in coffee beans interact with your saliva in a bad way! First, the caffeine in coffee reduces the production of saliva in the mouth. The lack of saliva in the mouth causes bad breath. Apart from aiding in food break down, saliva also kills bacteria in the mouth. It also helps remove any food particles in between teeth. When the mouth is not producing enough saliva, the bacteria in the mouth will grow out of control. The sulfur in coffee also leads to foul breath.