"Maybe it's the garlic I ate..." Though bad breath often stems from poor dental health, tonsil stones, periodontal disease or dry mouth, occasionally oral odor really is just a product of eating a pungent meal. But which foods cause halitosis? And are there any that reduce it?
The Mayo Clinic lists food as one of the primary causes of bad breath. It notes that certain items, like garlic or onions, contain oils that stick to the membranes of your mouth or even circulate through your blood and exit your body through the air you expel.
These oils contain volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are odiferous molecules that tinge your breath with the smells you associate with food-related halitosis. Do you have garlic breath, onion breath, coffee breath or milk breath? If so, then you are almost certainly pumping out VSCs with every breath you exhale.
So which foods are most likely to cause bad breath? Besides the much-maligned garlic and onions, spicy foods and savory meats are two prime suspects. These ingredients leave your tongue and palate coated with strong-smelling oils, which is one reason why it is so easy to get halitosis after a heavy meal of Italian, Mexican, Indian or Chinese food.
A few foods actually lessen oral odor a bit, though not nearly to the degree that specialty breath fresheners do.
MSN News noted that parsley, crisp vegetables, berries and fibrous fruits all appear to mute bad breath, or at the very least not add to it.
The news source also pointed to herbs like tarragon, coriander, cardamom and spearmint, which people have been using for centuries as natural ways to mute oral odor.
However, you should not have to avoid the meals you love - or grind cardamom seeds between your molars, for that matter - to get fresh breath. Research has shown that consuming herbs, berries or veggies does not treat bad breath, but instead does little to worsen it.
How are you supposed to treat bad breath, then? Changing up your diet isn't the answer. Instead, try gargling with a specialty breath freshening rinse or using a Blis K-12 Probiotics Kit. These products are guaranteed to attack halitosis at its ultimate source: the bacteria.
Regardless of the foods you eat, it is your mouth's microbes that ultimately do the lion's share of the odor production. Several notable species of bacteria are prime halitosis factories.
Knocking out these critters with an alcohol-free rinse, and then using an oral care probiotics product to keep them from returning, can freshen your breath and leave you free to eat all the garlic you can shake a toothbrush at.