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If you’ve ever been caught off guard by your breath smelling less-than-fresh, you’re not alone. Nobody wants to get bad breath, but it happens to all of us. Let’s talk about 5 foods that are bad for your breath so they don’t catch you by surprise.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions are probably the most commonly known foods that are bad for your breath. Both contain sulfuric compounds that can be absorbed by your body and linger long after you finish eating. Garlic and onions both offer excellent health benefits, so there’s no reason to avoid them completely. Enjoying them in moderation and brushing your teeth afterwards should address the problem.

Canned Fish

Canned fish like tuna or sardines can also leave behind a surprisingly unpleasant odor. The “fishy smell” we associate with fish is the result of a compound called trimethylamines. Lemon juice or vinegar can help to reduce the lingering effect on your breath.


Not only is horseradish strong-tasting, but it can also leave behind a strong smell after you finish your meal. If you enjoy this popular condiment with steak, potatoes, or other foods, just remember to keep a breath mint or stick of gum handy to tide you over until you can brush your teeth to wash away the scent.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great snack thanks to it’s high protein content and ability to help regulate blood sugar. Unfortunately, it’s sticky, chewy characteristics can mean that it sticks around on your teeth long after snack time. As with anything that sticks to your teeth, this can make them especially prone to bacteria build up. If you enjoy peanut butter for a midday or midnight snack, make sure to brush well afterwards.


People don’t often associate morning coffee with foods that are bad for your breath since coffee itself has such a delicious and cozy smell. However, coffee can have a dehydrating effect on your mouth that can impact the delicate balance, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria and reduction in saliva flow. The easiest way to combat this is to make sure to drink enough water throughout the day alongside any caffeinated drinks.

If you’re experiencing chronic bad breath or bad breath that returns after you brush your teeth, call your dentist to schedule an appointment. Bad breath can be made worse by certain foods, but it’s commonly caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the mouth and your dentist can help you track down the source so that you can prevent it before it starts, leaving you free to enjoy the foods you love without the fear of difficult-to-manage bad breath.

Call our Taos Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.


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