Top 5 Foods That Banish Bad Breath

Halitosis is all around you—it’s at the office, at the mall, and even in your home. It smells bad and often offends people. So, what is halitosis? You may know it better as bad breath.

According to, bad breath is comprised largely of “volatile sulfur compounds (VSC’s)” and anaerobic bacteria waste compounds that live in our mouth. These waste compounds include hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, cadaverine, putrescine and skatole. It’s not important that you know what these compounds are, just know that they’re nasty stuff.

So, how is this anaerobic bacteria produced? There are numerous sources of anaerobic bacteria, but certain foods are the biggest offenders. Foods to avoid include: garlic, onions, curry, spices, coffee, sugar (yes, sugar), acidic foods and drinks, dairy products and high protein foods.

The good news is there are also a number of foods that will help to prevent bad breath. Below, you will find my list of 5 foods that will banish bad breath:

Herbs – No, not all herbs are good for banishing bad breath, but coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom are great for doing just that. Oral health expert Dr. Christine Gerbstadt recommends chewing on these fresh herbs or making tonics by steeping them in hot water. As an added benefit, these herbs also aid in digestion.

Yogurt – Japanese researchers recently found that sugar-free yogurt with probiotic bacteria, eaten twice a day for 6 weeks, actually lowered the sulfide compounds that cause bad breath in study participants ( The Vitamin D found in yogurt is also helpful in creating an environment that inhibits bacteria growth. As an added benefit, yogurt’s bad bacteria-fighting properties also help to reduce the risk of both plaque and gum disease.

Fiber-Rich Fruits & Vegetables – This includes apples, carrots, celery and other “crunchy” fruits and vegetables. Why are these fruits and vegetables effective in the fight against bad breath? Because they stimulate saliva production and saliva has a cleansing and diluting effect on bacteria in the mouth. Besides, fruits and vegetables are great for your overall health, so eat up!

Cheese – Yes, I know I mentioned that in general dairy products are sources of bad breath, but cheese is an exception. The texture of cheese, believe it or not, can help to increase the product of saliva, while nutrients in it (calcium and phosphorous) help to neutralize plaque. As an added benefit, some dentists believe that cheese can even help to mineralize your tooth enamel.

Sugarless Gum – Some people may take umbrage with me classifying sugarless gum as a food. However, it’s hard to deny its effectiveness in the fight against bad breath. Much like cheese and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, sugarless gum is a great stimulator of saliva production. When selecting gum, make sure to look for sugar-free varieties that are sweetened with xylitol for maximum impact.

So, the next time you have bad breath, reach for one of these 5 foods and feel confident knowing that you’ll have a happier, healthier, fresher mouth in no time.


Cory Kemp is the owner of the popular dental marketing website, Dental Heroes, and a affiliate.

Join. Save. Smile.