Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can come out of nowhere and linger for hours. It can be embarrassing and frustrating to deal with. If you’ve researched this topic before, then you know that what foods you eat plays the biggest factor in how your breath smells. Foods that contain sulfur, high amounts of fiber, protein, carbs, and sugar all contribute to the growth of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Some foods, such as chicken and peaches, have large amounts of sulfur—which is absorbed into the bloodstream, so it comes out of your pores, emits straight from your lungs, and lingers in the mouth.
Dried fruit is good for a healthy diet, but it can be one of the sneaky foods giving you bad breath. Fruit already has a high sugar content, but dried fruit often has a coating of sugar to reduce moisture. The dried fruit can also get stuck in your teeth. Sugar and food residue in your teeth are the perfect breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria.
If you use a tomato base in your pasta sauce, it might be giving you bad breath. The acidity and sugar in tomatoes, much like citrus fruits, is the perfect breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.
Milk and cheese can give you bad breath from the amino acids in dairy reacting with your saliva. The result is a foul odor similar to spoiled milk. Milk does a body good, but it gives you terrible breath.
Alcohol causes dry mouth. Without saliva to break down food particles in the mouth, odor-causing bacteria can multiply and give you a bad case of stinky breath.
The bacteria that causes bad breath thrives in acidic environments. Fruits are healthy and have natural sugars, but the acidity and sugar content gives bacteria a place to grow. Fruit juices aren’t your friend either.
A high-protein diet is good for those who are working out and trying to build muscle, but it can also give you stinky breath. Your body produces ammonia when digesting protein, which is a compound that smells like cat pee.
A high-protein diet can cause you to put off a lot of ammonia, which escapes through your mouth, making you smell like a litterbox.
Peanut butter is ooey-gooey goodness, but it can stay stuck in your teeth for hours. The paste-like texture of peanut butter makes it hard for saliva to break down. This gives bacteria the perfect chance to grow in your mouth and make your breath stink.
We all know sugar causes cavities, but did you know it also causes bad breath? Bacteria loves to feast on sugar, allowing the odor-causing sulfur compounds to flourish and make your breath smell rotten.
Potatoes are high in fiber and starch, which is good for the digestive system but bad for your breath. The carb content in potatoes can lead to fermentation and gas, both of which can give you bad breath.
The breakdown of corn causes dimethyl sulfide to be given off. This leads to the fishy smell often associated with bad breath. Corn also had a tendency to get stuck in your teeth. Food stuck in your mouth also causes bad breath because of the bacteria feasting on it.
Eggs contain an amino acid called cysteine, which breaks down into odor-causing hydrogen sulfide. This gives off a stinky, rotten egg smell that lingers in your mouth.
Ham is high in protein, which produces ammonia when digested. The way ham is prepared can also lead to bad breath; sugar, salt, and smoking the ham to prepare it for consumption all turn your mouth into a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is good for probiotic health. The strong odor lingers and the fermentation only adds to the funk. Drinking kombucha can cause your mouth to smell like nail polish remover for hours.
Beets are high in methyl, so they are high in vital nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin C. Unfortunately, beets give off trimethylamine, or TMA, that absorbs into the bloodstream and makes you stink from the inside out.
Asparagus has been known to make you smelly in other ways, but it also makes your breath stink. The high sulfur content in asparagus makes it linger in your system and emit a stench from your mouth, lungs, and pores.
In addition to having a slight fishy smell, seaweed is bad about getting stuck in your teeth. When food gets stuck in your teeth, odor-causing bacteria can feast on it and multiply, giving you one serious case of bad breath.
Popcorn causes bad breath in two different ways: getting stuck in your teeth and containing high amounts of lactic acid. Lactic acid promotes tooth decay, which often results in a stinky smell coming from your mouth. Some popcorn contains sugar that can further contribute to tooth decay and bad breath.
It’s true that apples are good for your teeth; the fibers in apples help scrub your teeth and clean them. However, applesauce contains lots of added sugar, and often lemon, for a preservative. Sugar and acidity make perfect conditions for tooth decay and bacteria growth, leading to some seriously stinky breath.
Foods with seeds, like strawberries, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds get caught in your teeth. The lingering food particles give bacteria a place to multiply in your mouth.
Almonds are another food on this list we normally think of as healthy because of the heart-healthy fats they contain. However, almonds are high in fiber and sulfur, both of which cause bad breath by being absorbed into your bloodstream and lingering in your mouth, breath, and pores.
Garlic is sneaky about making you stinky. Sulfur compounds linger in your mouth and are absorbed in the bloodstream and expelled when you exhale. Once in the bloodstream, garlic emits a bitter smell from your pores.
Just like garlic, onion causes bad breath in multiple ways once it has been absorbed into your bloodstream. The sulfur compounds cause a stinky smell to come from your tongue, lungs, and pores.
Like garlic and onions, coffee has high sulfur compounds that linger to keep giving you bad breath. The caffeine in coffee also dries out your mouth. Without saliva, the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth with stick around and give you bad breath.
You might think that shrimp make your breath stink just because they’re from the ocean. While this is partly true, shrimp also contain high amounts of sulfur, which gets absorbed into the bloodstream. This causes a rotten egg smell that comes directly from your lungs and out of your mouth.
Red meat is rich in amino acids that can cause bad breath. The breakdown of these acids leaves waste products in the mouth like putrescine, which is responsible for the smell of decaying meat it can leave behind in your mouth.