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 many people pass because of the garlic-breath effects. These natural remedies ought to help out.

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Green tops of parsley on a wooden background.
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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. Basil, thyme, cilantro, mint and dill have similar effects.

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Milk spilled from glass on dark wooden

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. By the way, this is how long milk really lasts.

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Fresh green tea with tea leaves in the water

Drink green tea

Can’t stomach milk with stir-fry? Polyphenol-rich green tea may dull garlic stench too. If you’re looking to whip up some stir-fry at home, here are our 41 favorite recipes.

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Fresh whole white button mushrooms, or agaricus, in a bowl on a rustic wooden counter ready to be cleaned and washed for dinner, overhead
Stephen Gibson/Shutterstock

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 other 7 ways you can get rid of bad breath.

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Pine colada fruit salad
Taste of Home

Have fruit for dessert

Natural enzymes in healthy fruits such as apples, berries, pineapple and kiwis break down garlic’s sulfur compounds. The best way to do this is with a healthy helping of fruit salad. Take a look at these 26 stunning fruit salad recipes.

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Scraping tongue

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. To get rid of garlic breath, use a tongue scraper when you brush your teeth. It will help to remove dead skin cells, microbes and tiny particles of food. These tongue scrapers from Amazon work great.

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New Africa/Shutterstock

Swish with mouthwash

One of the most effective ways to neutralize the odiferous sulfur compounds is to use a mouthwash with chlorine dioxide or zinc, like Tom’s of Maine and ProFresh. (For simple halitosis, look for chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride in your mouthwash.)

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Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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. Here are 20 more surprising ways to use lemon.

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woman drinking water
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

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.

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This will help dislodge any stinky garlic particles stuck in your teeth. If you don’t care so much about garlic breath, try one of these 30 recipes for garlic lovers.

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Chewing gums with mint leafs on wooden table

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. Now that you know how to get rid of garlic breath, check out these natural heartburn home remedies that everyone should know.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest