No one likes to hear it, but it’s worse not to know it: You have bad breath.

We all know the usual culprits of bad breath, garlic and onion take the typical top spots on the list. However, you can’t fully blame them because there are some non obvious foods that can spoil your freshness even further. We’ll even show you how to manage them so they don’t ruin your day around co-workers or friends.

1. Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Having that second beer at the bar or energy drink for a little pick me up, might not be in your best interests. Like coffee, alcohol and caffeine from energy drinks can be dehydrating on the body. When your body starts to dehydrate, your mouth dries out, which causes bacteria to build up. According to Lisa Harper Mallonee, B.S.D.H., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., associate professor at Texas A&M University, “the drying of the mouth fosters some foul smells,” she says. “Using mouthwash containing alcohol on your already dry mouth can temporarily take away odor, but it leaves your mouth even drier later.”

There is no magic fix to take away bad breath from energy drinks or alcohol. However, if you’re breath reeks, it’s important to hydrate by drinking electrolytes or coconut water. Try drinking a glass of water per every pint of beer you drink. This will also help you the next morning if you had too much to drink.

butter on block sliced
yogurt with blackberries in cup

2. Dairy

This one might be hard for some to avoid, but we all know the risk of stinky cheeses and milk. “Dairy does linger in the mouth,” says Mallonee. Some people that are lactose intolerant don’t have sufficient enzymes to break down the dairy.

A way to get rid of the bad breath from dairy is to actually eat more dairy. Sound counteractive, right? Mallonee goes on to explain that you can swap out cheese and milk for yogurt, which contains live probiotics that will assist your body in processing the food.

3. Candy

Candy doesn’t just rot your teeth, it also leaves your breath with a stinky scent. The sugar mixed with the bacteria in your mouth isn’t the most pleasant combination which releases smelly sulfur compounds, says Mallonee. Since candy is hard to remove from your teeth, it increases the time bacteria and sugar can react, leaving you with bad breath for longer.

A quick fix is to brush your teeth and your tongue. Your tongue harbors a lot of bacteria from the foods we eat, so brushing it can help eliminate some odors. Flossing is also a good way to remove any extra particles of food that get stuck in-between your teeth.

random sugar candy piled up
stead dinner with vegetables on plate

4. Red Meat

Enjoying a fine steak at dinner might be a great way to celebrate success. And, although, protein is a vital nutrient in our diet, remnants in your oral cavity can product some awful smells. Choosing other meats such as chicken or fish, won’t leave you with the same problem.

The best way to freshen up is with a stick of gum. The rubbing and chewing motion can remove food particles and buildup. Our bodies need red meet, so it’s not smart to avoid red meats in general. Believe it or not, chewing gum produces more saliva, which helps flush out food particles. An ingredient in gum known as xylitol, has been proven to be a bacteria killer, says Mallonee. She recommends purchasing Spry Xylitol Gum, which contains 100% xylitol, like Trident.

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