10 foods that cause bad breath and 10 that combat it

The pandemic didn't cause much bad breath. People stayed home or were socially distant, often wearing masks. As restrictions loosen and people interact again, it's important to watch mouth health and bad breath (also known as halitosis).

Booze on your breath is hard to hide for several reasons. Alcohol is a diuretic, which dries out your mouth. Without saliva, bad-breath bacteria grows. After entering the bloodstream, alcohol exits through the lungs, so you can smell it hours later.


Whether it's tuna, sardines, anchovies, or another variety, canned fish stinks. Once canned, the fish oxidises, leading to a strong odour.

Canned fish

Cheese stinks. Some of the best-tasting cheeses stink. Bacteria that break down cheese's lactose, lipids, and proteins create halitosis-causing hydrogen sulphide.


Coffee is technically a drink, but almost everyone has experienced coffee breath. Coffee smells good before drinking, but not after. Coffee dries out your mouth, allowing bacteria to grow.


Garlic breath is real. Garlic contains two types of sulphur compounds that enter your bloodstream through your stomach and exit through your lungs up to two days later.


Allyl isothiocyanate, an organosulfur compound, gives horseradish its strong odour. The smell evolved to deter herbivores. allyl isothiocyanate may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.


Beastie Boys' "Shake Your Rump" contains the lyrics "Mike D, yeah? / With your bad self running things / What's up with your bad breath? / Onion rings." Onions contain sulphur compounds like garlic and are therefore potent. Beasties never err.


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