Maintaining good, or at least neutral-smelling breath, is kind of #constantlifegoals. And it's no secret that there are some foods that make your breath a little smellier than others — like, you know, you might not want to eat garlic knots or drink black coffee right before you give a presentation or kiss someone, right? But just like there are foods that make your breath smell bad, there are also foods that can prevent bad breath, and lucky for all of us, they're pretty easy to come by, not to mention delicious.
First of all, though, it's worth talking for a moment about the foods that do give you bad breath, so you can pinpoint some of these sneaky culprits. According to Sarah Jebreil, DDS, an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, some of the foods you'd typically eat as part of the keto diet can make your breath a little stinky. Jebreil tells Elite Daily over email that this side effect is called "keto breath," and she describes it as "a metallic taste or ‘nail polish remover’ type odor." This side effect can happen because, Jebreil explains, the keto diet is all about eating low-carb and low-sugar so your body can more easily process fat as energy. And when your body begins to use fat as energy, ketones (aka byproducts/molecules in the body that help break down the fats) are being released through your breath and urine, and apparently, those ketones don't really make things smell that pleasant.
But, keto diet or not, your breath is clearly affected by what you eat, not just your dental hygiene.
So what should you eat to keep your breath pleasant, or at least neutral? Well, according to Jebreil, fruits like strawberries and apples are great because the natural acid helps lift stains on the enamel of your teeth. Apples are also fibrous, she tells Elite Daily, meaning they can help clear away the extra food that can get lodged and hide in the crevices of your teeth.
According to Jebreil, pretty much any food with a high water content is going to be clutch for preventing bad breath. High water-content veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and celery are fibrous and moist, so much like apples, they help to wash away any staining or collecting debris — which is great news in party settings, because that means the plate of crudités can be your low-key strategy for steering clear of bad breath when you're in for a whole night of chatting and socializing.
Jebreil adds that coconut oil can be a great teeth-whitener, and coconut oil pulling (aka swishing the stuff around in your mouth for three to five minutes at a time), specifically, can help to lower plaque accumulation and staining.
But along with delicious, fresh-breath foods, and of course the regular brushing and flossing, Jebreil has a few other tips to keep in mind, one of them being to lay off the protein intake for a bit, as it can apparently worsen the odor. She recommends incorporating dental probiotics into your regimen to keep things healthy and fresh all-around, as well as mints with an ingredient called xylitol, which "have the added benefit of being good for your teeth, too," Jebreil tells Elite Daily.
Of course, remember that bad breath is something literally all of us deal with from time to time, so it's nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. Use some of these tips and tricks to your advantage, and remember, stay close to that plate of crudités the next time you find yourself at a party.