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How can I freshen my breath after eating garlic?

Eating garlic, and other pungent foods, can lead to bad breath. Some ways to eliminate the odor include:

  • Brushing teeth shortly after eating garlic
  • Breath mints or chewing gum
  • Eating garlic with other foods, or eating other foods afterward
Drinking milk after a meal may help to eliminate or reduce garlic breath. Lots of foods can cause breath odor, but for many people, garlic may be one of the worse offenders. As stomach acid breaks down garlic, it releases odor-causing compounds. These compounds get into the blood and find their way into your lungs, where they linger for hours and even days. Brushing your teeth and gargling with mouthwash usually only freshen breath temporarily. However, a study at Ohio State University found that drinking a glass of whole milk after eating fresh garlic helped to deodorize the compounds that cause bad breath. While this strategy may help, the only way to prevent garlic breath altogether is to not eat garlic.
Eating fresh garlic is a wonderful health habit that can help to strengthen your immune system, but you can be left with rather pungent bad breath. Drinking a small amount of whole milk right after eating garlic can reduce the breath odor by 50%. Just remember that whole milk has a fair amount of saturated fat, so portion control that whole milk gulp. Parsley is also a natural breath freshener with its high chlorophyll content and a key source of Vitamin A, several B vitamins, iron and calcium. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.