Face it: Right now, at this very moment, your breath probably smells pretty bad. Whether it’s from the coffee you drank this morning or the raw onion on the burger you had for lunch, you probably shouldn’t talk into anybody's face right now. And even if you've avoided the obvious offenders, there are still plenty of foods and drinks out there that will destroy your breath.
Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and use mouthwash regularly, the foods you eat and the beverages you drink can still give you bad breath. That’s because the chemical compounds and bacteria in food and drink are tailored to make your breath stink. For example, it’s not the flavor of onion and garlic that gives you bad breath, it’s all of the sulfur compounds in them; not only do they stick around in your mouth long after you eat them, they’re absorbed by the bloodstream and are expelled every time you exhale. Sulfur compounds are created when the mouth’s microbes eat food particles and dead cells, which is why you get bad breath if you don’t brush your teeth, no matter what you eat. And if food gets stuck in your teeth and begins to decay, those bacteria can also begin to get pretty rank as well.
Should you find yourself suffering from bad breath, the first thing you should do is consider your diet. Brushing (both your teeth and tongue!) and flossing should remove the offending odors (mouthwash contains alcohol, which dries your mouth out and is ultimately ineffective in the long run, so don’t waste your money on it), and drinking lots of water (which flushes the mouth and promotes saliva production) and chewing gum (which can dislodge food and dead cells) can also help get your breath back to optimal shape. Probiotic yogurt has also been shown to help lower the level of sulfur compounds in your mouth. The chlorophyll in parsley may help to deodorize the mouth as well — which is why it accompanies garlic in so many traditional dishes around the world. If brushing, flossing, and diet don’t have any effect on your halitosis, then it may be a sign of medical conditions including gum inflammation, kidney and liver disease, lung conditions, stomach irritation, and autoimmune disorders, so you might want to get it checked out.
In many cases, however, bad breath is completely preventable; it’s just an issue of oral hygiene and avoiding trigger foods and drinks. A good rule of thumb is that if a food is acidic or sugary, or if a liquid is dehydrating, it’ll give you bad breath. So read on to learn about 10 foods and drinks that you probably didn’t realize are actively giving you bad breath, and your significant other will be thanking you.