Garlic Breath

garlic bulbs

What causes garlic breath and how to get rid of garlic breath

Many chefs and health-conscious people around the world love garlic. It can add a unique flavor and aroma to any meal and it is also good for the heart and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Unfortunately, the sulphuric compounds that give garlic their health benefits and taste also give people an unpleasant odor which is known as 'garlic breath'. In this article, we will cover why garlic makes your breath smell and also how to get rid of garlic breath.

Why does garlic make your breath smell

Garlic and other members of the allium plant family (onions, shallots, leeks) produce cysteine sulfoxide and this gives them their distinct odor and taste. These sulfuric compounds are very similar to the compounds that are produced by the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath.

There are two ways that garlic makes breath smell bad. The first way is that when you eat garlic the sulfuric compounds get in your mouth and they will immediately give you garlic breath. These odorous compounds will remain in the mouth until they are brushed, flossed, scraped, or flushed out.

The second way garlic affects your breath is through your lungs. There was an interesting study (link to the study) done in 1936 where two doctors fed garlic soup to a patient who suffered from cancer of the esophagus. Due to the cancer, the patient was fed through a tube that entered the stomach through the abdominal wall, completely bypassing the mouth. They noticed that although garlic did not enter the patients mouth, they still detected garlic in his breath 3 hours later. This old study supports other studies that have been carried out recently.

The compound that causes the breath that comes from the lungs to smell like garlic is allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). AMS is a gas which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic. From the blood it is transferred to the lungs where it is then exhaled. Some of this AMS is even excreted from the pores of the skin. This is why garlic breath is so hard to get rid of at times. No matter how much you clean and brush your mouth, the garlic odor will still be in the air you exhale because it comes from the lungs.

How to get rid of garlic breath

The best way to get rid of garlic breath is to stop eating it, this is the only way to completely eliminate garlic breath. Also it is difficult for you to know if you have garlic breath or how bad it really is. If removing garlic from your diet is not an option here are some remedies for garlic breath. Please note that although you may neutralize the garlic breath compounds in the mouth, the sulfuric compounds will still be exhaled from your lungs, still making your breath smell like garlic. The effectiveness of these remedies are therefore debatable, but at least these will lower the smell of garlic that comes from your mouth and lowering overall the smell of garlic on your breath.

Remedies for garlic breath

The single most effective way to get rid of garlic is breath is the mechanical removal of the garlic particles and volatile sulfur compounds in your mouth. This is carried out by brushing and flossing your teeth, using a tongue scraper, and swishing and gargling mouthwash. Using a tongue scraper is very important step in removing the sulfuric compounds from your tongue. The following list of remedies are additional things you can do before or after brushing, flossing, and scraping but should not replace the mechanical removal of the garlic particles. The following are only meant to cover up or neutralize the garlic compounds before or after you brush, floss, and scrape. If you only try these remedies without removing the garlic particles, you will do little to get rid of your garlic breath and it will return shortly.

  • WaterPik - Using a WaterPik is effective at removing the garlic compounds on and in between the teeth. You may also use the oral irrigator attachment to blow water in the back of your mouth to remove any particles that may be back there.

  • Parsley - A lot of the times recipes that use garlic also use parsley as well because parsley is effective in neutralizing the odors of garlic. Try chewing on parsley after eating garlic.

  • Cardamom, mint, fennel, cloves, anise seeds - these seeds and herbs are similar to parsley in the fact that they help neutralize or mask the garlic odor.

  • Lemon - Lemon is very effective in neutralizing the garlic odor and it is also has anti-bacterial properties that will kill bacteria. Try sucking on a lemon wedge after eating garlic. Also washing your hands with lemon juice helps to remove the odor from your hands.

  • Drink tea - Tea, especially green and peppermint, contain polyphenols that reduce the volatile sulfur compounds that the garlic produces. Drink tea while or after eating garlic.

  • Chew sugar-free gum - This will help to mask the odor of the garlic and will help dislodge garlic and food particles that might be stuck on or between your teeth.

  • Drink milk - In a study done in 2010 it was proved that drinking milk helped reduce the odor of garlic in one's breath. It is theorized that the fat content in milk helps neutralize the odors. Whole milk was more effective than skim milk and it is most effective when the garlic is mixed with the milk (gross!), instead of drinking it after.

  • Chew coffee beans - Various people have reported that chewing coffee beans or grounds for a bit and then spitting them out helps reduce garlic breath.

  • Switch to odorless garlic supplements - If you eat garlic because of its health benefits, consider switching to odorless garlic supplements.

Also do not neglect other necessary oral health care while trying to get rid of garlic breath. Read our article on How To Get Rid of Bad Breath for an overview of a basic oral care regimen that will help you have fresh breath.

Hopefully these will help you get rid of garlic breath or at least lower its effects. If you have any other tips please share them below. Thanks!

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Comments (36)
Pages | 1

Solutions that don't work !?!

Thing is I've tried most of these remedies and they don't have much of an effect. I eat a lot of garlic (as in my culture it's in many recipes) and have no idea what to do to improve how it smells anymore. Pls help

by Garlic lover on Aug 25, 2017 | 9:39 PM

simple way to cure galic smell

1. do not shew it
2. take it with a swallow food
3. u can also fry it with egg and bread
4. shew alot of shewing gum and tomtom

try this and thank me later

by oluwafemi on May 19, 2017 | 3:51 AM

Garlic is efetive only due to its bad smell! So, it is good to enjoy the bad!

by Amex on Mar 10, 2017 | 8:35 AM

How to reduce gallic odour to d lowest minimal

Slice some gallics in a plate,leave it open for some time,then put it inside ur eba n swallow it with soup. Atfter shew mellon, drink green tea etc. I believe that doing exercise that will make u sweat n after u take ur bath b4 going out or meeting people will make d odour to leave u within short periods

by onyekachukwum on Feb 6, 2017 | 2:07 PM

Yikes! It appears garlic causes cognitive disfunction with spelling.......

by Susie on Nov 5, 2016 | 8:31 AM

Since garlic tastes so bad and makes one smell bad, I do not understand why cooks use it in so many recipes! It certainly does not enhance the taste of the food. I eliminate it from the recipe and have been curious as to why anyone would use it.

by Carol on Nov 4, 2016 | 11:37 AM

Garlic makes my champion hard as a rock and strong like a bull. I love the taste and the effects and it helps make me a sexual powerhouse.

by Bull on Oct 10, 2016 | 7:10 PM

I blend some cloves of garlic and ginger with some slices of cucumber. I hope this still does the work of garlic, with the additions. I took green tea and to my surprise, my colleague told me the smell isn't as bad as the previous day I didn't have green tea. So green tea really helps.

by Juanita on Aug 27, 2016 | 2:05 AM

garlic is very good it has so many health benefit though people don't like the scent of it, I really like taking it

by nana aba on Aug 24, 2016 | 5:53 AM

Bad breath

I have doing this for a while, cut garlic into small pieces and swallow with water. Much less bad breath than chewing it. Also, pan fry garlic and onions but not too much on the stove for less bad breath then eating them raw. If someone doesn't like my breath, the heck with them, garlic is medicine.

by Emir on Aug 21, 2016 | 7:01 PM

makes garlic more nutritious

After you cut or smash the garlic let it stand for 10 minutes. The allicin will be released and it will be better for you.

by Polack on Jul 5, 2016 | 7:16 AM

I love it no matter who it offends.I'm more interested in its health benefits knowing it goes right into your blood stream.I just bought a pound of California peeled garlic and i will spread it on toast after a slow roast in oven.YUM.

by Patrick on May 28, 2016 | 11:28 AM

i ate garlic 3days ago but it's up to present that my breath is not pleasant,what can i do else?

by kiiza jo' amen on May 19, 2016 | 2:34 PM

I love eating garlic. I love it raw cooked sautéed powdered and any other way. I could sue him mass quantities of garlic and I make my family and wife suffer for it. They will smell my wrath!

by Mr. Stink on Apr 2, 2016 | 12:34 PM

try baking soda...scrub tongue often, floss, rinse

by M on Feb 23, 2016 | 5:14 AM

help from Garlic breath

How to cover Garlic breath ?

by Dev malik on Jan 18, 2016 | 11:29 PM

I'm two months pregnant and my husband loves eating hummus with a lot of garlic. Yesterday he had some for breakfast and it made me queasy all day and night long. We tried most of the remedies but they didn't work. Today's morning my husband's breath helped to my morning sickness :(

by Ellie on Dec 21, 2015 | 5:02 AM

I heard swishing mustard around in your mouth works just as well. You can add that to your list.

by Tiffany Sun on Oct 26, 2015 | 11:04 PM


I peeled and ate a large piece of raw garlic for the first time and WOW! I thought my dog had gas for 3 hours and no... It was my breath. My tip is brush, floss, mouthwash, and don't blame the dog. Also don't eat it raw 👍

by JJon on Oct 12, 2015 | 10:26 PM

Best way to get rid of it is an inch if water in a glass, 1 tsp of English mustard, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vinegar.

Hold your nose, put in mouth and swish round, then you must swallow it so it goes down your throat as well.

It's horrible but kills 70% in an instant.

by Jammy on Sep 23, 2015 | 4:39 PM

eat garlic without bad breath

Sir/Madam,do not afraid to eat garlic.It is very good for health.If you get rid of smell eat it by little fry on fire.It cannot create smell.

by somanath on Aug 29, 2015 | 12:35 PM


can not keep up withith you

by mitch on Aug 19, 2015 | 10:57 AM


The benefits of garlic outways the old!

by VLang on Jul 12, 2015 | 6:44 AM

hy,the important features in garlic are more than the garlic breath we complain cos it cleanses the blood,just take it then get the bad breath of through lemon or tea,or you can cut the garlic into smaller pieces like drugs then drink it,this way there won't be garlic breath

by thelma on Jun 24, 2015 | 3:03 AM

To avoid garlic breath and garlic burps, remove the vein that runs down the center of the garlic clove. If you cut the close in half the vein is quite visible and easy to remove. The reason being that the clove itself digests rather fast, but the vein does not, if at all. As a result it remains in your stomach for much longer than the rest of the clove. This is why hours after eating something garlicy you are still burping garlic flavor even though your breath is relatively fine

by garleak on Jun 19, 2015 | 3:13 PM

Garlic breath

We are currently on an 8 hour trip (driving ) . I finished off a bag of garlic croutons & Omg !
Read articles above - is have peanut butter on had - I ate some but it's still strong - I'm Chewing trident spearmint & peppermint - gonna have to stop and scape my tongue .

by Faye on May 23, 2015 | 4:25 PM

Garlic breath

We are currently on an 8 hour trip (driving ) . I finished off a bag of garlic croutons & Omg !
Read articles above - is have peanut butter on had - I ate some but it's still strong - I'm Chewing trident spearmint & peppermint - gonna have to stop and scape my tongue .

by Faye on May 22, 2015 | 2:56 PM


The best way to stop d smell is letting evrryone to start eating it. When everyone eats it there won't be no smell

by kings on May 21, 2015 | 5:54 AM

My husband also use blood Pressure medication .
He takes Breath Pearls every morning with his blood pressure meds ,
it really works for him
Only problem is , breath Pearls are not easy to find , he usually buy out all the stock on the shelves when he finds it .

by Taylor on Apr 26, 2015 | 7:37 PM

garlic breath my husband

I hate when my husband eats garlic I cant stand to smell it what should I do

by Bridget on Apr 20, 2015 | 9:36 PM

bad breath

My boyfriend takes a blood pressure and cholesteral pill daily . It unfortunatley leaves a very strong smell of garlic on his breath. How can i fix it

by Jamea on Mar 7, 2015 | 8:18 AM


"the best way to get rid of garlic breath is to stop eating it" what brilliant scientist thought of that one? captain obvious no doubt!

by Ed on Feb 21, 2015 | 4:29 AM

My husband takes a b lood pressure and cholesteral pill each morning. It unfortunatley leaves a very strong smell of garlic on his breath. What to do?.

by mara on Jan 27, 2015 | 2:31 PM

My husband takes a lood pressure and cholesteral pill each morning. It unfortunatley leaves a very strong smell of garlic on his breath. What to do?.

by mara on Jan 27, 2015 | 2:30 PM


It is very good lesson

by kingsley on Jan 23, 2015 | 3:12 PM

garlic odourless supplement

I learnt garlic odourless capsules are not effective as raw garlic. I know the allicin content of it which makes the garlic more effective and beneficial. Becomes compromised

by mike on Oct 18, 2014 | 7:54 PM
Pages | 1
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