With Valentine’s Day coming up, it's time to brush up on ways to make sure you're at your best when it comes to oral health. Of course, we can all name the usual suspects when it comes to the most offensive bad breath foods. Garlic, onions, tuna fish, & some stinky cheeses certainly top the list of bad breath foods, but there are a few more everyday offenders that might slip under the breath-sniffing radar. Here are some to keep in mind as you look at your dinner choices this Valentine's Day.
Foods That Contribute to Bad Breath
It might be surprising to learn that some normal foods can cause bad breath even without knowing it. Here are some to stay away from.
1. Alcohol & Energy Drinks
Although alcohol is usually a staple when it comes to Valentine's Day, keep in mind that your favorite glass of wine might be working against you. In fact, coffee, alcohol and the caffeine from energy drinks can be dehydrating, which contributes to bad breath.
Saliva acts as a natural defense to bad breath – among other oral health maladies – but when our mouths dry out from too much alcohol, saliva production decreases. This drying effect fosters bad breath, even when you might think that alcohol would kill smelly bacteria!
Using mouthwash containing alcohol on your already dry mouth can temporarily take away the odor, but it leaves your mouth even drier later.
How to fix it: Drink more water!
Stinky cheeses like brie, muenster, Roquefort, & Limburger are some of the top bad breath foods, but milk and other dairy products can have the same effect. Not to mention they can disrupt your digestive system and cause some unwanted discomfort later on.
Valentine's Day candy is a nice and tasty gesture. But, it turns out candy doesn’t just rot our teeth—it also gives us bad breath.
It’s caused by the combination of sugar and bacteria in our mouths that releases smelly sulfur compounds. And since candy particles are particularly sticky and tricky to remove, it increases the time bacteria and sugar can react.
So not only is candy a cavity-inviting treat, but it’s also one of the lesser-known bad breath foods. How to fix it: A little water can go a long way. Try a tongue scraper or brushing your tongue because it’s a place that harbors a lot of bacteria. Flossing will also help remove the sugary foods stuck between your teeth.
4. Red Meat
If you have plans that include a nice steak dinner, know that it may be working against you! The remnants of protein – which is a vital part of our diet – in our mouths can produce bad breath (specifically red meat). Whereas other meats, like chicken or fish, won’t cause quite the same problem.
How to Fix Bad Breath
Chew gum. The rubbing, chewing motion can remove many food particles. Chewing gum also produces more saliva, which can flush out food particles. Look for gum with xylitol, a clinically proven sweetener and bacteria killer. (The efficacy of similar substances, like sorbitol, has yet to be verified.) We recommend Spry Xylitol Gum, which is sweetened with 100 percent xylitol, or a gum that lists the ingredient first, like Trident Original Flavor.