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11 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Garlic Breath

Garlic's health benefits are many, including fighting cancer and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, but some people pass because of the garlic-breath effects. These natural remedies ought to help out.

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Eat parsley

“Sulfur compounds in garlic are released not only in the mouth but also in the gut, from which they seep into the lungs and skin,” says Victor Sierpina, MD, professor of family and integrative medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. This makes freshening garlic breath more complex than merely cleansing the mouth—though it's a good place to start. It’s handy that chefs decorate plates with parsley: Plant chemicals like chlorophyll and polyphenols bind to sulfur compounds in garlic and help neutralize odor. Other herbs, such as basil, thyme, cilantro, and mint have similar effects. Make sure you know about these other surprising causes of bad breath.

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Sip milk

Milk effectively reduces garlic breath if you drink it before or during a meal, a Journal of Food Science study suggests. “The water [in the milk] acts like a mouth rinse, and the fat neutralizes sulfur,” says Kantha Shelke, PhD, food scientist and Institute of Food Technologists member. That’s why whole milk is more effective than skim.

Hand that pours chinese green tea from glass kettle to smal cupDen Edryshov/Shutterstock

Drink green tea

Can’t stomach drinking milk alongside a garlicky meal? Some research suggests that polyphenol-rich green tea may dull garlic stench too.

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Add mushrooms to your tomato sauce

Preliminary research suggests that the polyphenols in mushrooms work faster than any other compound to counteract garlic’s effects on breath, says Shelke. Try these 11 other ways to get rid of bad breath as well.

A group of fresh red apple on the wooden table with vintage sackSuhana_Supian/Shutterstock

Have fruit for dessert

A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that eating a raw apple may be one of the best ways to neutralize garlic odor. Quercetin, a polyphenol found in high levels in apples, was particularly good at breaking down garlic's sulfur compounds. Find out other reasons why you should be eating these 10 healthiest fruits.

Close-up Of A Woman Cleaning Her Tongue With CleanerAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Scrape your tongue

A lot of smelly bacteria can build up on the back on the tongue, and most people skip that area when brushing their teeth. Although the American Dental Association says this is an optional oral care step, using a tongue scraper or toothbrush to clean your tongue may help temporarily freshen your breath.  You'll also want to avoid these foods that give you seriously bad breath.

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Swish with mouthwash

One of the most effective ways to neutralize the odiferous sulfur compounds in a food like garlic is to use a mouthwash with chlorine dioxide like Tom’s of Maine and ProFresh.

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Suck on a lemon

Grab a lemon after you've eaten crushed garlic. The acid from a lemon neutralizes alliinase, which is an odor-causing enzyme that is released from crushed garlic, explains Shelke.

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Drink water

If you're wondering how to get rid of garlic breath in the simplest way, just drink water. Water will wash out any garlic that got stuck in your teeth or is sitting on your tongue. Swish around the water to make sure it can clear out anything in between your teeth. This is what your bad breath reveals about your health.

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Floss

As your dentist will be quick to remind you, flossing will help dislodge any stinky garlic or food particles stuck in your teeth. 

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Chew gum

After eating a meal with a lot of garlic, chew on a piece of minty gum to get rid of the smell. Not only will it leave a fresh scent in your mouth, but it will also stimulate saliva production which helps to wash away bacteria and food in the mouth. Just make sure the gum you choose is sugarless so you aren't chomping on cavity-causing sugar. Find out about some other surprising benefits of chewing gum.

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Medically reviewed by Maureen Namkoong, MS, RD, on October 20, 2019