Surprising Foods That Can Cause Bad Breath


We all know the classic foods that cause bad breath, such as tinned fish, garlic and onions, however if you’re struggling with bad breath and aren’t sure what’s causing it, we’re here to introduce some surprising foods that you might consider reducing in your diet! The most important thing to do if you have concerns is to go to your dentist, as this could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed, for example if you have All On Four or other dental implants, you may have an infection. So, visit your dentist if you’re worried, otherwise get ready to be surprised by these foods that can cause bad breath! 

Pasta Sauces

One food that many people might not consider for bad breath is pasta sauces made with tomatoes. Tomatoes are very acidic in nature, so this can then buildup acids in the mouth. These acids then encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can not only damage your teeth, but also cause bad breath! This can be an issue both quite soon after you have eaten, as well as later in the day as more bacteria builds. Tomato based pasta sauces also usually contain onion and garlic, so of course this then worsens the issue. So, just be cautious when eating pasta sauces! 

Citrus Fruits

As with pasta sauces, citrus fruits can cause bad breath. The combination of the acidity and also the sugar within the fruits creates the prime environment for bacteria to develop. As well as this, citrus fruits are damaging to the enamel, which can later lead to issues such as decay and infection, again, resulting in bad breath. So, if you love snacking on or eating recipes with lots of oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruits, perhaps cut back slightly if you are struggling with bad breath. 

High Protein Foods

If you are eating a diet high in protein and have noticed bad breath, the two might be linked. If you are eating protein in excess of what your body can process efficiently, such as lots of post-workout meals then your body will produce excess amino acids. When these acids combine with the natural bacteria in the mouth, a noticeable smell can be noticed on the breath. If you also are restricting your intake of carbohydrates, your body can go into ketosis (perhaps more commonly known as the ‘keto diet’), which is where your body is burning fat instead of glucose. As a result of ketosis, the chemicals produced can result in an unpleasant smell. 


Foods That Help Your Breath! 

Now we’ve talked about the foods that can cause bad breath, we’re going to introduce some foods that you can eat to help counteract the effect that the foods above could be having! Introduce a few of these foods to your diet each week and you should notice a difference. 

Crunchy Fruit and Veg 

First up we have crunchy fruit and veg! Things like raw carrots, celery, peppers and cucumber are natural teeth cleaners, so they help to reduce the residue in the mouth left behind by sugary or acidic foods that can cause bad breath. It can also help to remove any food that is stuck between teeth. Crunchy fruit and veg also encourages more saliva to be produced in the mouth, again helping to wash away any of the debris in the mouth. Lastly, the crunching motion helps to keep your jaw nice and strong, which helps with all elements of your oral health. Snacking on crunchy fruit or veg is a great thing to do and an easy way to fit more fruit and veg into your diet

Green Tea

Another thing you should be incorporating into your diet is green tea. This drink is packed full of antioxidants which help to counteract the bacteria that builds in the mouth. It can also help to reduce inflammation, which is good for the gums. Drink a couple of cups a day between different meals to help with bad breath! 


Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are another great food to be incorporated into your diet. They are absolutely packed full of so many great vitamins and minerals for your overall health, as well as your oral health! They help your oral health by helping to build your enamel, and they also contain a lot of folic acid, which can help to prevent gum disease. Eating raw salads with kale and spinach is a great way to preserve as many of the vitamins and minerals as possible, or if you’re not a big fan, cook into your meals or blend into a smoothie (with other tasty ingredients you won’t taste it, we promise!) 


Eating fresh parsley is another good way to combat bad breath. Parsley is full of natural essential oils, which help to freshen breath just like mint would. Additionally, parsley is full of chlorophyll, which actually kills the bad bacteria in the mouth. Our favourite way to eat parsley is to finely chop it with mint and basil, then combine with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then drizzle this over a delicious salad! You’re combining the great leafy greens with the natural breath freshener of parsley. This is such a simple yet effective way to improve the smell of your breath if you do consume a lot of the surprising foods that we introduced above. 


Last but not least, we have water. This is one of the most important things that you can consume for your teeth. It washes away some of the plaque, bacteria, sugar and citrus residue in the mouth between brushing, which can help to protect your enamel and prevent tooth decay. Whilst drinking water certainly doesn’t replace brushing, it’s a great thing to drink after you’ve eaten to help wash away any residue, to help reduce damage until you have time to floss, brush and mouthwash properly later in the day. Water also encourages your mouth to continue producing saliva, again helping to wash away residue even between brushing. 

Final Thoughts

Avoiding the foods above can be quite difficult, so one thing you can do to help avoid bad breath is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This can help to temporarily wash away some of the residue from the bacteria generated that can cause bad breath. Make sure that you then thoroughly floss, brush and use mouthwash in the evenings to help fully remove any residue before you go to bed. You can get mouthwash specifically for bad breath too, perhaps speak to your dentist specifically with different options.