Bad breath can ruin dates, hurt your chances of succeeding at a job interview and...get you out of a speeding ticket? Well, if you're Justin Timberlake, apparently having halitosis may help you dodge some trouble with the law. Recently, the actor and musician went on Jay Leno and explained that he was pulled over for speeding while leaving a Burger King.
Timberlake explained that he went to the fast food establishment for onion rings, which are his favorite fried snack. Later, he was so excited after finishing his treat that he drove erratically, leading a police officer to ask him to take a test to determine if he was intoxicated.
"[The police officer] wanted me to breathe in his face and I was like, 'Sir, I know this sounds crazy but you really don’t want me to do that.' He insisted and so he got a face full of onion ring stank and ironically I did not get a ticket...which he should have done," Timberlake told Leno, quoted by The Daily News.
While Timberlake's love of onion rings may have helped him avoid a ticket - though being a super celebrity may have also helped - bad breath probably won't bring you the same luck. To help you avoid a stinky situation, let's examine some of the foods sure to cause halitosis.
Bad breath foods
As most people know, garlic and onions are pretty much guaranteed to cause halitosis. In fact, Lisa Harper Mallonee, M.P.H, R.D, who is also an associate professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, told WebMD that these two foods top the list when it comes to bad breath. This is because while some foods simply leave a strong odor in your mouth, these two actually emit sulfur compounds that enter your bloodstream and are released every time you exhale.
Other than garlic and onions, spices are also likely to cause halitosis. Like the previously mentioned foods, curry can make its way into your bloodstream and leave a lingering odor. Luckily, using an alcohol-free mouthwash can freshen your breath while you wait for these compounds to expel from your system.
Dense protein foods like milk, beef, chicken and eggs also lead to bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria, like people, consume food and excrete waste. This waste emits quite an unpleasant smell, which is why you want to be sure to use speciality breath fresheners whenever you consume these foods.
Some more interesting causes
Believe it or not, it's not just food that causes bad breath. For example, many medications may cause dry mouth, which can lead to halitosis. Saliva helps to wash bacteria and leftover food particles from the mouth, and when there's isn't enough of it, bacteria is left to build up.
Having said that, medications aren't the only cause of dry mouth and bad breath. If you breathe (or sleep) with your mouth open, you're likely to experience decreased saliva production.
Also, heavy alcohol consumption can dry out the mouth. However, many mouthwashes are alcohol-based, which is why you should carefully read the labels of all breath products you purchase to make sure that they are alcohol-free.
Finally, poor oral health can obviously lead to bad smells in the mouth. A buildup of plaque and bacteria between the teeth is bound to cause halitosis, which is why you need to brush your teeth, floss, use alcohol-free mouthwash and visit the dentist twice a year for regular cleanings.