Nobody likes to be told they have bad breath. If you’ve got a hot date coming up, you probably already know that you want to steer clear of onions and garlic once you get to the restaurant, lest you send your potential suitor running for the hills. But did you know that there are a number of foods you can choose on date night (or any other night) that will actually improve your breath?
Read on to learn how to keep a fresh breath with these five foods.
1. Green/Black Tea
A cup of green or black tea can likely cut the miasma coming from your mouth through the action of a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. As long as you don’t add sugar to your tea, these antioxidants can go to work and kick out the bacteria that are causing your stinky breath. The University of Utah Health Care website also reports that people who drink tea frequently are less likely to have bad breath than people who don’t. (1)
Sugar-free yogurt has been shown to fight bad breath after six weeks of regular consumption (2), probably through the action of live cultures which can drive bad bacteria out of your mouth (so make sure your yogurt contains live and active cultures!). Plus, yogurt contains vitamin D, which also helps in the fight against bacteria. So while it might not help right away, two servings of yogurt each day may help you get rid of halitosis in the long run.
3. Fresh Herbs
Chewing on fresh herbs and spices not only kills bacteria, it also adds a fresh scent to your breath! Chlorophyll-containing parsley can help to deodorize your mouth(3) without adding too much additional scent. If you like a more noticeable taste and scent, fresh mint, fennel seeds, anise, and cloves have also been linked to fresher breath.
An apple a day may in fact keep the doctor away. According to an American Dietetic Association spokesperson quoted in this MSN Health article (4), crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, celery, and carrots can help scrape odor-causing plaque off of your teeth. They also increase saliva production, which can help keep your whistle nice and wet and prevent bacteria from gaining a hold. Finally, chomping on an apple can help dislodge any bits of food that have gotten stuck in your teeth, mitigating any negative effect they might have on your breath.
5. Citrus Fruits
One Huffington Post article forwards the advice of a professor of Dentistry at NYU, who recommends fruits high in vitamin C as a way to get rid of unwanted oral bacteria (4). In addition to ridding your mouth of some of the bacteria that causes halitosis, the vitamin C content of fruits like oranges and grapefruit also helps fight gum disease like gingivitis, which can, if left unchecked, lead to even more bad breath.
Of course, none of these foods can do as good of a job of freshening your breath as the good old fashioned standards of oral hygiene. In order to always have a fresh breath, make sure you stay on top of brushing and flossing, and see a dentist for a checkup and cleaning once every six months.