7 Food and drinks which cause bad breath and a few that help to neutralise it

While bad breath can be a sign of a dental or health problem it can also be caused by the food and beverages that you eat and drink. Bad breath can lead to a lack of self confidence as well as causing anxiety and embarrassment. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the food and drinks that can lead to bad breath as well as a few foods that can help neutralise and fight bad breath.

1. Tea and Coffee

Everyone’s favourite morning pick me up work to dry out your mouth and reduce your saliva which can lead to a build up of bacteria that causes bad breath. They also have a strong lingering smell which can add to the problem. While cutting both from your diet would lead to better oral health, another option is to have a glass of water afterwards to restore moisture levels in your mouth and wash away any odours.

2. Alcohol

With a high sulphite content, alcohol not only causes dehydration but is synonymous with bad breath. Drinking plenty of water following consumption can help but the best option is to limit your alcohol intake as much as possible.

3. Garlic

While garlic might be great for our immune system and really help to add depth and flavour to our food it doesn’t do much when it comes to your breath. The smell will often linger and as it can enter the bloodstream, you’ll often get the repeated taste of garlic up to a couple of days after you have eaten it. If you want fresh smelling breath, then it’s probably best to lay of the garlic.

4. Onions

Another smelly food item that is best avoided if you want to make a great first impression is fresh uncooked onions. Like garlic they are high in sulphurous compounds which enter the bloodstream shifting the smell from the mouth to your lungs. Brushing your teeth won’t solve the smell coming from your lungs.

5. Protein

Protein helps us to build muscle and is the option of choice for many people looking to improve their fitness while boosting fat loss. High protein diets may be great for our overall health but when the body uses protein for fuel it produces ketones which can leave a bad smell in your mouth. Drinking plenty of water can help minimise this effect and is also part of a healthy diet.

6. Tinned fish

Fish in general is a pretty smelly food but tinned fish is particularly odorous with fish oxidising in the tin leading to a smell that is hard to get rid of. It may seem like a quick and easy meal choice but if you want to avoid bad breath then you should consider omitting tinned fish from your diet.

7. Acidic foods

Fruit is high in acid which can cause bad bacteria to form in your mouth – citric fruits are particularly bad for this and so are foods such as tomatoes, sauerkraut and other acidic foods. Of course, fresh fruit and vegetables are important as part of a balanced diet so drinking water after you eat or drink these items will help keep your mouth feeling fresh.

Foods to fight bad breath

If you have eaten the above foods, then the bad breath effect can be neutralised by eating the following items.
Most natural herbs contain oils that are great for masking the odours of foods such as garlic, onion and fish. Parsley, basil and mint are all perfect choices for helping to refresh your mouth and help get rid of lingering bad breath.


While acidic fruits cause bad breath, apples break down the compounds that lead to bad breath and help to keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean. Another great option is the humble melon which also helps to fight gum disease and gingivitis.

Green vegetables

Greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce and cabbage help to neutralise your PH levels and work in the fight against bad breath. In addition to eating plenty of green vegetables, you should also be drinking water as a dry mouth is one of the common ways that bacteria can start to cause bad breath.

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