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Everyone has had the bad breath at some point in their lives, and some people unfortunately have it every day. Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, one being the food that we consume containing volatile sulfur compounds.

Volatile Sulfur Compounds

If certain foods are left out on the table and not refrigerated they can, of course, start to spoil. The process of this spoiling happens because of a bacterium called anaerobic bacterium which has the job of breaking down proteins in that exact food. All dairy products for instance get that soured smell if left to the bacteria to break its proteins down. The reaction happens when the bug that causes the bad breath takes out the sulfur compounds from the amino acids especially Cysteine which are in these proteins. The amino acids are then changed into Hydrogen Sulfide and this is what smells like a rotten egg. The Methionine changes into Methyl Mercaptan and this has the smell of a mixture of old socks and garlic. Onion and garlic tend to make your breath smell because they both have sulfur compounds called Mercaptans. Everyone knows about the smell the skunk can produce, and this is because of the sulfur. Foods can be placed into four groups that cause bad breath, so see below for more information.

Drying Agents

The most well known drying agent is alcohol. Most people can associate with this as when they have drunk quite a lot then the next morning they have a bad taste in their mouth. Something that you probably did not know is that mouthwashes contain alcohol, so in theory a mouthwash can actually do the opposite as what it is intended to do. Smoking is also another drying out agent and most people who smoke do tend to have bad breath, unfortunately it does come part and parcel.

Dense Protein Foods

Dairy foods are a big culprit of giving people bad breath because of their amino acids, which are effortlessly converted into volatile sulfur compounds due to the anaerobic bacteria.


Some companies such as Altoids have tried to make the public believe that the food that tastes good and strong can freshen your breath but this statement if in fact the opposite as to what science can prove. Sugar is basically fuel for the bacteria thus making bad breath from the sulfur.

Acidic Foods

Coffee and citrus juices can change the balance of your PH levels in your mouth.

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