How does what I eat affect my breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) is an unpleasant condition that can be cause for embarrassment. If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. 

If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Certain foods and medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss to clean between teeth.
Certain foods and beverages are notorious for causing halitosis, better known as bad breath. Some of the biggest culprits include:
  • garlic
  • raw onions
  • cabbage
  • coffee
  • alcoholic beverages
This list is by no means exhaustive, however. In fact, all kinds of food particles can leave your breath smelling pungent if allowed to linger in your mouth, causing bacteria to build up. Brushing and flossing regularly can help keep your breath smelling fresh.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.