Brushing, flossing and rinsing are all great ways to keep your mouth healthy and clean. But for all your defensive manoeuvring your breath will, from time to time, still get a little offensive. Not to worry though. Of all the things that cause bad breath, 80% are right under our noses—in the foods we eat. Here’s a look at some of the key offenders:

#1: Garlic

While it’s not surprising garlic would make the list, what might shock you is how garlic can leave its sulfuric mark on more than just your tongue. Garlic is also absorbed into your bloodstream, enabling a secondary wave of odour to make its way into your lungs, where it can freely escape through the mouth. Once absorbed, garlic then emits a bitter scent from your pores. None of this, however, should be reason to swear off garlic completely. Just try not to overdo it and, when you’re finished, flush your mouth of garlic residue by brushing and flossing.

#2: Dairy

A diet with an adequate amount of calcium is necessary for strong, healthy teeth and bones, but sometimes dairy can cause the naturally occurring bacteria in your tongue to feed on the amino acids in milk and cheeses, producing a smell in an odor that can be pungent and unpleasant.

#3: Horseradish


Who knew your breath could be affected by one of the least unsuspecting food items: condiments. Particularly horseradish. This is because horseradish sauce is derived from a plant that produces isothiocyanate, a natural chemical so odorous, even animals avoid it.

#4: Canned Tuna

No one is ever going to confuse the scent of fish with, say, a bouquet of roses. But something about canned tuna takes stink to a whole new level. Seafood naturally starts to become sour smelling and rank as it oxidizes, a process that is somehow exacerbated by the process of storing it in a dark, metallic can.

#5: Coffee & Alcohol

These liquid culprits can also affect the way your breath smells for a couple of reasons. For starters, these are drying agents, meaning that they inhibit the flow of saliva and thus create a dry mouth. Because saliva acts as a way to clean out the mouth and remove unwanted bacteria or food particles from between the teeth, a lack of it can create a perfect breeding place for harmful bacteria. Drinking water can help your mouth produce more saliva, which can contribute to counter this if you actually can’t live without your morning coffee.


References: TRUST Dental Care, Listerine, WebMD