An old wives’ tale suggests that people with bad breath should drink copious amounts of milk in an effort to neutralize their mouth odors. Combine this with the obvious health benefits of calcium and vitamin D rich cow’s milk, and this is one of those rumors that are hard to let go of.
As a matter of fact, when considering that the proper intake of calcium is a requirement for the health of teeth, it only makes sense that milk would also help with bad breath. Furthermore, since milk soothes many an upset stomach, it stands to reason that it can also make some of the smells brought on by the upset gastric juices go away.
Unfortunately, while milk is healthy and most certainly helps with soothing an upset tummy, it does little to actually take away bad breath or help neutralize it. To make matters worse, it has now become known that the more milk you drink on a daily basis, the more you actually leave yourself open to worsening your breath rather than bettering it.
The root cause for this startling discovery is of course the bacteria that reside normally in your mouth. Part and parcel of the digestion process, these bacteria break down the foods into their various components; milk, of course, is primarily made up of protein. In turn, the protein consists of various amino acids.
As the bacteria are digesting these amino acids, bacteria activity gives rise to a volatile emission of sulfuric compounds, the very substance that makes stink bombs smelly. The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more sulfuric compounds are released. The more milk you drink, the more amino acids are broken down, causing the emission of odor causing sulfuric compounds.
In a simplistic attempt to deal with the problem, brushing the teeth might be a great idea in the short run. Yet when considering that these bacteria are crucial in the breakdown process of milk proteins, it is a foregone conclusion that for any bacteria removed via brushing and gargling, more are reproduced, simply to take care of the onslaught presented by the frequent ingestion of milk proteins. By the way, this holds true not only for milk, but also other dairy products such as yogurt and cheeses.
Followers of a high protein – low carbohydrate diet are especially at risk for this kind of bad breath: the majority of their caloric intake stems from protein, and the bacteria charged with digesting the foods are working overtime in the mouth, causing more and more unpleasant smells to come from there. This connection has already caused many a high protein dieter to swear off the diet; after all, what good is it to get your dream figure if nobody wants to sit close to you?
Conversely, stop drinking milk in an effort to neutralize your breath. Continue to drink regular amounts for good health, but do not overdo it simply because of the old wives’ tales surrounding the product. You are actually doing more harm than good.