Did you know that there are specific foods that may lead to bad breath? This is because of volatile sulfur compounds – the culprit in causing bad breath!
That spoiling action is due to anaerobic bacteria breaking down proteins in that particular food. In milk, the odor of sour milk is caused by relatives of the bugs that produce bad breath when they break down proteins in the milk (and basically in all dairy foods). A reaction takes place where’the bad breath bugs’ extract sulfur compounds from the amino acids in these cells. Specifically, the amino acid Cysteine is converted to Hydrogen Sulfide (which has a rotten egg odor ) and Methionine becomes Methyl Mercaptan (which smells like a cross between old socks and garlic). The same analogy applies to meat if it sits out too long.
Everyone knows that onions and garlic will make bad breath. But do you know why? It’s because the odorous molecules in garlic and onions are sulfur compounds themselves called Mercaptans. Sulfur is nature’s way of producing odors. You are all familiar with the skunk. Its odor is created by a defense and/or attack mechanism. Skunk odor is made up of skatoles, which are naturally occurring sulfur compounds. In a similar manner, bacteria in your mouth generates the volatile sulfur compounds of bad breath and taste disorders.
1. Drying Agents
2. Dense Protein Foods
4. Acidic Foods
Let’s look carefully at each of these food groups and how they stimulate bad breath!
The most frequent drying agent in food is alcohol. Alcohol of course, is the cornerstone of all”adult” beverages such as beer, wine, and hard liquor. It is also used, sadly, in many mouthwashes that you see in the grocery stores, which only makes a bad breath problem worse.
Alcohol, known as a desiccant, is used quite often in laboratories to”dry out” difficult to reach areas in test tubes and beakers. The same end result occurs in the oral cavity.
Although cigarettes aren’t really food, smoking may be the quickest way to dry your mouth out, with alcohol being the second. If you smoke, you’re sure to have bad breath!
DENSE PROTEIN FOODS
Dairy foods have a reputation for creating bad breath. An article that appeared in the”Los Angeles Times” once noted that over 50% of the population in Southern California had been”lactose intolerant”. With regards to bad breath, a number of these people (numbering in the tens of millions) end up with more dense proteins accessible as poor breath fuel for the bacteria than those who have no problem with dairy foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.. The end result is a buildup of amino acids, which are easily converted to volatile sulfur compounds by the anaerobic bacteria found inside the surface of your tongue and throat.
To a lesser extent, people have the identical problem with other kinds of food that are thought of as dense in protein such as poultry, beef, and fish.
This condition is named TMA (Trimethylaminuria) and is sometimes called the”Fish Odor Syndrome,” because the odor produced is similar to decaying fish. The odor includes sulfur compounds, plus nitrogen compounds (amines). People with this condition must abstain from beans and other kinds of food which are dense in protein.
Wouldn’t it be great if we can get rid of bad breath by chewing on M&Ms?
That’s what the makers of Altoids would have you believe. Altoids, and other products of the same ilk, are attempting to fool the general public into believing that a strong”good” taste in your mouth is equal to the”freshness” of your breath. This is so anti-scientific it is absurd! If you consider it for a moment, it really doesn’t make any sense.
By using concentrated mint flavorings, your taste buds pick up mint for a taste. However, Altoids contains two types of sugar that again, are a fuel for the bacteria to reproduce and create more sulfur compounds – thus bad breath. In addition, the frightening part is that other germs can take the sugars and produce glycan strands, which then end up causing thick layers of plaque on the enamel of your teeth and around your gums.
As you can’t smell your own breath, you just go merrily along with that great strong mint taste in your mouth, while others close to you are backing off – backing away from your increased bad breath, jagged teeth, and gross, swollen, bleeding gums!
Stay away from candies, mints, and chewing gum should they contain sugar!
Foods with a high acidic content are a problem also. pH is a term used to describe the acidity of an environment. The oral cavity has a normal pH of 6.5 (7 is considered neutral). A few of the foods that you should watch out for are coffee and many citrus juices. Both decaffeinated and regular coffee contain acids. However, tea is okay. Among the citrus juices that the ones with the highest acidic content include tomato juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grapefruit juice.
In order to decrease the production of odorous sulfur compounds, the acid environment has to be neutralized.
What can you learn from all of this? Avoiding foods that lead to, or even causebad breath is vital if you want to have clean fresh breath. While this is a difficult task, being aware of these halitosis causing elements is the first step in creating confidence in your breath. In addition, it’s important to employ oral care products that are free of alcohol, sugar, and that also have a high pH level.