Food you must avoid to prevent bad breath

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

People suffering from bad breath have to go the extra mile to always keep some kind of aid to save themselves from embarrassment like mouth sprays and mints. However, going the extra mile can be in the form of making efforts to improve your oral hygiene as well.

It is a well-known fact that poor oral hygiene will give you foul-smelling breath. But did you know that even your diet can affect your breath? Here are certain foods you must avoid when you don’t want your mouth to smell

Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions, add taste and flavor to your food, but leave you with a foul-smelling mouth. Both of them release sulfur compounds which give you pungent breath. These sulfur compounds even get absorbed into your blood and are released by your lungs through your mouth.


Fish is tasty and packed with essential Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. But the delicious taste comes with the downside of a bad breath. Smelly fish, especially the canned variety like Tuna are notorious for not just smelling bad, but also leaving your mouth smelling ‘fishy’.  Fish have a compound called trimethylamine which gives it its characteristic ‘fishy smell’. 


Cheese is a great source of calcium and probiotics. But eating a lot of cheesy foods will give you bad breath. Cheese contains amino acids that break down to release hydrogen sulfide. This gives you a ‘rotten egg’ smelling mouth.


Citrus food

Citrus foods are a source of Vitamin C. It keeps our gums healthy. But excessive consumption of acidic fruits and juices can not only harm your enamel but also leave you with bad breath. The citric acid of the fruits increases the acidity of your mouth. This makes the environment very conducive to the growth of bad breath-producing bacteria.


Protein rich food

Proteins are the building blocks of our body. But eating excessive amounts of protein-rich foods like meat, egg, soya, etc. can give you bad breath. Proteins when broken down, release ammonia. This can give you a ‘cat pee’ like the smell, especially in people on a keto or a high protein diet.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a rich source of protein and fats. Its creamy texture has made it a hit, especially with kids. But like all proteins, it releases ammonia to give you a bad breath if consumed in high amounts. What makes matters worse is its sticky creamy texture which clings to your teeth and is hard to clean.

Sugary food

Sugar makes everyone happy – even the bacteria in our mouths. The bad bacteria ferment the sugars and rotten the leftover food in the mouth and release acids giving a bad odor. These acids dissolve the enamel of your tooth and cause cavities. This process goes on till you see a dentist. 

So should you stop eating all these foods?

Of course not! A well-balanced diet is the basis of a healthy body and mind. Moderation is the key. Have a glass of water after eating any of these foods to make sure that they do not hang around to give you a bad breath. Do not forget to brush and floss regularly to reduce not just bad breath, but also prevent cavities. Add a mouthwash to your routine to help you get a fresh clean breath.


  • There are no shortcuts to getting rid of your bad breath. Follow the 5 steps to good oral hygiene to completely cure your bad breath.
  • Foods like garlic, onions, peanut butter, sugary food, fish, cheese, etc. will give you a temporary bad breath.
  • Avoid eating these just before your meetings or in and around office environment.
  • Remains of food in your mouth are fermented by the micro-organisms and this rotting of the food gives a bad odor. Further these microorganisms release acids which cause tooth decay.
  • Studies have also shown eating quickly can cause bad breath. So take your time and chew your food properly.
  • One must not stop eating these completely. Instead rinsing with water or a mouthwash after your meals help you get rid of your bad breath.

Was this article helpful?

scanO (formerly DentalDost)

Stay Informed, Smile On!

Author Bio: Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.

You May Also Like…

A Simplе Guidе to Tooth Rеshaping

A Simplе Guidе to Tooth Rеshaping

What if we say thеrе's a way to еnhancе your smilе without having to wear braces! Tooth reshaping might bе thе answеr...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *