We all know that there are certain foods that can cause bad breath. Garlic. Tuna. Coffee. But did you know there are options that can help diminish oral odours too? Whilst maintaining a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and macronutrients can go a long way to ensuring our breath stays as neutral as possible, there are a number of foods you can include in your diet to keep your breath as fresh as possible between brushing and keep the 600+ different strains of bacteria living in the average mouth at bay(1).
Water and Green Tea
The promise of a delicious milky coffee is the only thing that gets many of us out of bed in the morning. However, the caffeine in coffee can cause dry mouth, meaning the bacteria in isn’t being washed away by your saliva, resulting in bad breath.
Two of the best beverages to indulge in at any time of day are water and green tea. Both options will hydrate the mouth and green tea also contains powerful antioxidants which reduce the sulphur compounds which develop from trapped food resulting in bad breath. Japanese scientists also champion green tea for its gum healing properties(2).
As well as making our favourite dishes particularly tasty, herbs have oral benefits all of their own. Parsley is a fantastic source of iron and chewing on a handful of fresh sprigs does wonders for your breath due to the beneficial oils it releases. Basil, rosemary, coriander, spearmint, tarragon and cardamom also hold the same property.
Chewing on herbs may not suit some palettes so a great alternative is to put them into boiling water for a few minutes to make a refreshing tea drink – this is also fantastic for your digestive system. Cloves are also an exceptional choice to make into a brew as they have antiseptic qualities too.
Whilst we don’t recommend crunching your way through a handful of cinnamon sticks, including them in recipes or chewing on sugar-free cinnamon gum will release an essential oil into your mouth that kills unruly oral bacteria and helps prevent it from taking hold of your mouth.
Fibre-Rich Fruit or Vegetables
Broccoli. Apples. Sweet potatoes. If it is packed with fibre then make space for it in your diet. Eating meals which are fibre-rich often increases saliva production, which keeps your mouth moist and helps wash away debris and bacteria. Acting like your own personal washing machine, you could find your bad breath under control if you boost the fibre in your diet.
Cheese and Milk Alternatives
It isn’t just the milk in your tea or coffee that is causing issues, fans of cheese will also be upset to learn that these dairy products can lead to bad breath(4). Once cheese or milk has been eaten, the different proteins in them break down in our digestive tract within hours of being consumed. This releases pungent gases with a rotten-egg like smell which are then expelled from our mouths. So, for those who consume milk and cheese daily, it could be worth switching to a good non-dairy substitute of each if you are struggling with bad breath.
Vitamin C Laden Fruits
Consuming foods with high levels of vitamin C can help banish bacteria from your mouth and discourage further growth. Indulging in citrus fruits, berries or melon on a daily basis will also help control bad breath.
If you are on the ball with your macronutrients, include eggs or oily fish in your diet. The vitamin A found in egg yolks and fish oil are fantastic for helping to combat oral infections and sores which can cause bad breath.
A superfood of the culinary world, all leafy greens are fantastic for keeping our bodies in tip-top physical order and we should all try to include a handful with every meal whenever possible. Some favourites include kale, spinach, swiss chard and broccoli. All are inexpensive and widely available in most supermarkets.
Chlorophyll, the green pigment which helps plants absorb light during photosynthesis, is present in all leafy greens. It is a natural deodoriser and shot to popularity with medical professionals in the 1950s when it was used to treat bad breath and body odour. Nothing has changed since then and it is still one of the best foods to consume if you are concerned about smelly breath.
Ginger holds a number of health benefits, most notably it is fantastic for settling upset stomachs or easing nausea. It also contains an anti-bacterial agent, so can be of help to those with halitosis or oral health issues.
Those who opt for the ginger route often chew on chunks of ginger, add the juice of ginger to a smoothie, create a ginger mouth wash, or mix it with honey, lemon and hot water for a warming brew.
Research has shown that eating around 90g (approximately a third of a large pot) of unsweetened yoghurt everyday can have a significant impact on bad breath. Active cultures in the yoghurt fight against the odour-creating bacteria in your mouth which contribute to bad breath.
Studies also revealed that consuming probiotic yoghurt daily helped those prone to periodontal disease or whose genetic make-up means they build up plaque more readily to better manage their particular issues (5).
Help from UltraDEX
Whilst tweaking your diet can help with bad breath, often the best results are achieved with a combination of natural remedies and effective oral hygiene products. Our Daily Oral Rinse contains clinically proven technology which kills harmful bacteria and eliminates bad breath instantly for 12 hours so you have fresh breath confidence for the day ahead.
(1) G H Schueller. No Date. Foods That Fight Bad Breath. Available at: http://www.eatingwell.com/article/275779/foods-that-fight-bad-breath
(2) Y Hara, C S Yang, M Isemura and I Tomita. 2017. Health Benefits of Green Tea: An Evidence-based Approach
(3) C Cardellino. 2017. 15 Ways to Make Your Breath Smell Good 24/7. Available at: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/advice/a34387/ways-to-make-your-breath-smell-good/
(4) M Giller. Why You Have Heinous Bad Breath After Eating Dairy – and How to Fix It. Available at: https://www.menshealth.com/health/milk-and-cheese-breath
(5) 2005. Natural yoghurt beats bad breath. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4367723.stm