Garlic is a common ingredient which people use in day-to-day cooking. Garlic adds a unique flavor and aroma to food. On the other side, there are several garlic health benefits as it is rich in anti-oxidants. Garlic has sulphuric compounds which are the primary reason behind its health benefits. Although, this compound is also responsible for giving people an unpleasant mouth odor which is also known as garlic breath. Do you know how to get rid of garlic breath?.
Some of the frugal ways of getting rid of garlic breath are chewing parsley leaves, drinking lemon juice, drinking milk, eating an apple, etc.
Moving ahead, you will know the primary reason behind garlic breath in detail. Also, you will come to know how to get rid of garlic breath by following a few simple home remedies which are natural and easily accessible.
What is garlic breath?
Garlic breath is temporary bad breath problem which is caused by eating crushed garlic or food items which have the significant amount of garlic as an ingredient.
Garlic is a species of the genus, Allium. Closest members of garlic are onion, shallots, and leeks. Plants of this family produce cysteine sulfoxide, which gives them a distinct taste and odor.
These sulfuric compounds are similar to the compounds formed by anaerobic bacteria which also cause bad breath.
Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) cause bad breath. Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) is one of the volatile liquid present in garlic which is responsible for causing bad breath.
So, when you eat garlic, your blood absorbs AMS during the metabolism of garlic-derived sulfur compounds. AMS travels to the lungs from blood and to the mouth from lungs and causes bad breath.
AMS is also excreted from pores of skin too, which is why at times, garlic breath can last for a day or two.
How to get rid of garlic breath?
Do you have to give up eating garlic to escape the unpleasant odor or garlic breath? Absolutely, not. There are several ways to get rid of garlic breath.
The most effective way to get rid of garlic breath is to brush and floss after eating garlic using a tongue scraper and swishing with mouthwash.
Let’s see other remedies to get rid of bad breath which you can use in conjunction with the mechanical process of brushing, tongue cleaning and flossing are – (1)
Basil and Parsley
Basil and parsley are phenolic-rich foods. If you eat basil and parsley in dishes separate from garlic in the same meal, you can fight the garlic breath.
Parsley and basil neutralize the odor of garlic. You can also chew parsley or basil leaves after your meal to ward off the garlicky smell. Additionally, parsley and basil have other health benefits too.
Chew sugar-free gum
Chew on a sugar-free gum to mask the smell of garlic when you do not have enough time to brush. The gum will freshen your breath and mask the obnoxious odor.
Chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands, and there is an increase in the flow of saliva. The saliva will help wash away garlic particles which stay in your mouth.
Sugar-containing gums can increase the chance of tooth decay as opposed to sugar- free gums.
Drinking milk before or during a garlicky meal helps in getting rid of garlic breath. Several studies suggest that water and fat can reduce garlic breath. So, milk is the perfect combination of water and fat. (2)
Drinking milk before eating a garlic meal is more effective than during or after the meal. Also, whole milk with high-fat content is more effective than skim milk with low-fat content. (3)
Vegetables and fruits
Any vegetable or fruit which is high in phenol content will help get rid of the garlic breath. Spinach and garlic when eaten in the same dish or different dish reduce the smell of garlic significantly.
Apple, raw lettuce, mint leaves are high in phenolic compounds. These foods are also high in the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, which causes browning of fruits and vegetables and reductase enzyme, which help catalyze the breakdown of organic compounds.
Both these enzymes, speed up the reaction between phenolic compounds and garlic vapors. Also, these foods have a significant deodorizing effect. The raw versions of these foods are more effective than the boiled or heated version.
Chew lemon or drink lemon juice
You can chew a wedge of lemon or drink lemon juice to neutralize the smell of crushed garlic. The high acidity of lemon destroys Allinase, an enzyme, which activates when garlic is crushed and releases the distinctive smell. (4)
Green tea and peppermint tea contain polyphenols that reduce the volatile sulfur compounds of garlic. If you don’t like the idea of drinking milk to ward off the smell of garlic, then you can sip on a cup of green tea or peppermint tea.
But green tea is not as effective as milk or a raw apple. (5)
Switch to odorless garlic supplements
If you consume garlic for health benefits, then you can consult your doctor and ask him to prescribe odorless garlic supplements. Although, some garlic supplements may still cause odor and the tablets which do not cause the smell, are not as effective as natural garlic wedges.
As we all know, artificial products in majority cases are not as good as natural products.
Over to you on how to get rid of garlic breath
If you follow proper oral care regime, it is highly unlikely that you will suffer from garlic breath. If you have garlic breath, then make sure to follow the steps mentioned above.
If you have an important meeting to attend or a social gathering scheduled, try to avoid meal cooked using garlic so that you do not have to worry about bad breath.
At times, bad breath can be a symptom of an underlying systemic disease, so do not skip your regular dental visits. (6)