We've all had that uh-oh moment when we realize our breath isn't what we want. Maybe it's after a garlicky pesto or an extra-large latte. Whatever the cause, it's an embarrassing, intimidating feeling.
Of course, the most important factor in keeping your breath fresh is good oral hygiene—brushing and flossing regularly and using a breath-freshening antibacterial mouthwash. Make sure your toothbrush itself is clean and fresh; rinse thoroughly, store it upright so the bristles dry, and switch out toothbrushes at least once every three months, or sooner if bristles become worn or damaged.
Now, back to those edible troublemakers! Here are some of the top culprits that can ruin your breath—and some surprising ways to restore a happy mouth:
FOODS THAT CAN MAKE YOUR BREATH BAD
- Onions and Garlic No surprise here—we've all been there—but do you know why garlic can ruin your breath? It contains a substance (allyl methyl sulfide) that generates a powerful odor. Likewise, sulfur compounds in onions can make your breath smell bad.
- Milk and Cheese: The protein in milk nourishes bad-breath bacteria, and these proteins can break down into volatile sulfur compounds in your mouth that smell.
- Alcohol: A cocktail or a glass of beer or wine can foul your breath because it drys out your mouth, boosting the activity of anaerobic bacteria that make breath bad.
- Meat: Foods, like meat, that get stuck in your teeth can hang around awhile, nourishing bacteria growth. This can be particularly troublesome if the foods are on the bad-breath list already.
AND 3 WAYS TO STOP BAD BREATH
Here are some supporting ways to sweeten your breath:
- Brush & Floss after Meals: Removing food and bacteria on teeth and gums after meals can help stop bad breath before it starts.
- Eat a Carrot or Apple: Fiber-rich foods that increase saliva production help keep your juices flowing and bad breath at bay.
- Drink Water Since a dehydrated mouth can be a smelly place, it makes sense that irrigating it regularly by drinking water can help stem bad breath.
Note that a variety of physical conditions, from post-nasal drip to diabetes, can affect your breath. If you suffer from reflux, kidney or liver disease, periodontal disease, lung disease, or other respiratory infections, talk to your doctor about how to reduce the impact on your breath.
Healthy living tips for the 50+ brought to you by Crest & Oral-B ProHealth For Life.