How to Get Rid of Coffee Breath

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 26 February 2020

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How to Get Rid of Coffee Breath

Have you noticed that even your body odor reflects what you have eaten or drank in a day?

There is almost no way to lie about the onions, garlic, and fish that you ate — or the coffee you drank. Even if it isn’t coming from your mouth, the odor can exit through your sweat glands. The more potent the food or drink smells before you consume it, the more it will smell on your breath.

Coffee is full of wonderful benefits, except the one downfall that affects us all: coffee breath.

What can you do? There are a few options. But before we discuss how to get rid of coffee breath, you need to understand what causes it.

So, what causes coffee breath? A couple of different factors causes coffee breath. For one, coffee has a strong aroma on its own, which will sit in your mouth as you drink it. Secondly, coffee causes xerostomia and bacteria to build up in the mouth.

When your mouth is dry, it lacks saliva to wash away the food particles that get stuck in your teeth and on your tongue. As it sits, bad breath incurs.

In this article, we will discuss a few different points about coffee and coffee breath, including:

  1. Why does coffee dry out your mouth, and why does that result in bad breath?
  2. How can you avoid coffee breath?
  3. Does the type of coffee you drink make a difference?
  4. How can you solve coffee breath?

Why does coffee dry out your mouth, and why does that result in bad breath?

Xerostomia, as mentioned before, is simply a dry mouth. Many different factors can cause this, including foods and drinks with high sugar content, alcohol, bananas, and coffee.

When your mouth dries up, there is no saliva present to discard the food debris from your teeth, cheeks, and tongue. This lack of saliva leaves these bits and pieces in a bacterial environment that eventually lets off a bad smell.

Note: If xerostomia is a common occurrence, it can even cause tooth decay, as saliva also contains bacteria-fighting agents that neutralize the pH of your mouth.

Another reason that coffee gives you bad breath is the fact that it is high in sulfur. Each cup of coffee contains 110mg of sulfur. As food and drinks are broken down in your mouth, sulfur is released. Adding sulfur to sulfur results in an even more potent and unpleasant smell.

Altering the pH of your mouth also affects your breath.

Saliva has an average pH of 6.7. Coffee has a pH that ranges between 4.5 and 6, depending on the brew — the lower the pH, the better the breeding ground for bacteria. When you add milk and sugar into this mix, the bacteria breeding ground only intensifies. Just like sugar attracts many humans, it also attracts bacteria.

How can you avoid coffee breath?

Drink green tea

If coffee breath is a constant problem, you could consider getting your morning rush from green tea instead.

Unfortunately, green tea does contain less caffeine than coffee. A standard cup of green tea contains between thirty and fifty milligrams of caffeine. In contrast, a cup of coffee contains about ninety-five milligrams per cup, depending on the blend.

Drink your coffee earlier

If green tea isn’t an option for you, you could set your alarm just fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to avoid taking your coffee with you to go. Saving a minute or two to brush your teeth afterward is a life-changer.

Floss and brush afterward

Flossing is also a great way to avoid bad breath in general, as well as brushing with fluoride toothpaste.

Drink it black

By leaving the milk and sugar out of your coffee, you are lessening the intensity of coffee breath. Without the extra bacteria swirling around, you only have one enemy to face.

Does the type of coffee you drink make a difference?

Taking the roast of the coffee into consideration before you order is another way to combat bad breath.

A darker roast of coffee tends to be more tannic than a light roast. The tannins of a dark blend wipe out the saliva in your mouth, leaving you high and dry.

A lighter roast will still dry you out, but less drastically.

What will turn your mouth into even more of a desert is espresso. If you have a date coming up and you can’t brush your teeth afterward, avoid espresso.

How can you solve coffee breath?

Luckily, there are a few ways that you can still enjoy the morning java without dealing with the smelly consequences.

Eat yogurt

One of the most interesting ways to do this is to incorporate yogurt into your breakfast. As we all know, yogurt is full of good bacteria. Therefore, filling your mouth with good bacteria before sipping on the bad will help to even things out.

Overpower the scent

A couple of common quick fixes include chewing gum or popping a mint. The strong scent of these options will overpower the scent of bad breath. That is, after all, what these items were manufactured to do.

Eat scent-fighting foods

Other food, or spice, options that can help to solve your coffee breath after enjoying a brew include apples, lemons, ginger, and cloves.

Lemons are full of antibacterial agents and are quick to neutralize bad breath (and body odor).

Ginger and cloves have such strong, yet pleasant, scents on their own and will easily cover up a bad smell.

Lastly, and most interestingly, is an apple. Not only does an apple make you salivate, but biting into it and chewing it also helps to remove plaque build-up from your teeth. As we learned before, saliva is key for picking up the leftover food debris and ridding it from your mouth, therefore reducing the chances of bad breath.

Drink lots of water

Next, we have the old faithful: water. By combating dry mouth and being a totally neutral substance, water does an amazing job of washing everything down, leaving minimal bacteria in the mouth.

How to Get Rid of Coffee Breath

The best way to incorporate water into your coffee routine and avoid bad breath is to drink it before, during, and after your coffee. Constant hydration will wash down the coffee before it has a chance to dry your mouth.

Keep your mouth open

A final tip for solving coffee breath is not to keep your mouth shut afterward.

As odd as that may sound, you can probably guess why. Keeping your mouth closed provides a warm and ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Engaging in a conversation with a stranger may not be the best idea after coffee, but singing along to your favorite tunes in the car is perfect.


Here are a few things that you should away from this post:

  1. Coffee dries out your mouth, preventing saliva from washing away bacteria. Additionally, it high in sulfur and very acidic. This trio works together to create the ultimate coffee breath.
  2. Drinking black coffee lessens your chances of bad breath. Milk and sugar lend more bacteria into the mix.
  3. Light coffee is less likely to give you an intense coffee breath. Dark roasts and espresso have a stronger smell and flavor, and the scent will stick around longer.
  4. There are many ways to solve coffee breath. A few suggestions include: eating an apple, incorporating yogurt into your breakfast, eating lemon, ginger, or cloves afterward.
  5. Drink water. Water will rehydrate your mouth and also wash away existing bacteria that causes coffee breath, and bad breath in general.


  1. Live Science
  2. Serious Eats
  3. How Stuff Works

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