While it’s never a bad idea to visit your local dentist if you’ve got persistent bad breath – as it could be the sign of something serious – most of the time it’s just chemistry. As human beings, we love to put all sorts of delicious foods in our mouths, and while they might taste great, sometimes there are unintended side-effects, like being able to wilt flowers with your breath.
Here are 5 foods that can make your breath stink, and why. Do yourself a big favour and brush your teeth thoroughly after a meal that has any of these ingredients in it. You – and the people around you – will thank you.
Let’s start with the granddad of all stinks – garlic. Unless you’re a vampire, adding garlic to any dish is a great way to spice things up, but the smell of garlic is next to impossible to get out of your mouth. According to a local Montreal orthodontist; Dr. Normand Bach, the culprit is allyl metal sulfide, a particularly stinky gas created by your body during the digestive process that gets released into your lungs. It also off-gasses from your skin through your bloodstream, making you a walking calamity of stink!
Onions – closely related to garlic, no surprise there – and they are high in amino acids known as allins. Chewing up onions turns these allins into propenyl sulfenic acid in your mouth, turning your breath into something that could peel paint. The smell is literally eye-watering, as scientists are pretty sure that propenyl sulfenic acid is what causes the common crying reaction when you slice onions.
Why does coffee in your mug smell so fantastic, but coffee breath makes you want to run for the hills? The trick is in the way coffee’s natural enzymes and high acidity reacts with the saliva in your mouth, creating a truly monstrous stink. Making matters worse, coffee tends to upset the pH balance of your stomach, often resulting in acid reflux – and that adds another layer of unwholesome smell atop everything.
If there’s any smell that’s top of many people’s list, it’s often going to be tinned tuna fish. The stink of an open tin of this fragrant fish can permeate a room like none other, and if you enjoy a nice tuna salad or tuna fish sandwich for lunch, that smell’s going to follow you around like a dog. The reason tinned tuna smells so bad is that it’s been oxidizing in that sealed container for weeks or months. Tuna in water is the worst, tuna in olive oil is only slightly better – tuna at all is going to turn you into a pariah.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, or anything with a high fat content is going to give you some gorgonzola breath. The amino acids in dairy products are a favourite meal for the bacteria that naturally live on your teeth and tongue, and as these bacteria chow down on the remains of your last snack, the result is some of the most awful smelling breath ever.