If you have trouble with bad breath, you might find that onions and garlic are two of your worst enemies. While other smelly foods can usually be defeated with a mint or a quick swish of mouthwash, onions and garlic always seem to be a lot harder to combat. That’s due to the chemical makeup of onions, garlic, and any plant in the allium plant family (shallots, scallions, leeks, etc).
Garlic, onions, and the rest of the allium plant family affect your breath in two ways. The first is how most other foods give you bad breath, which is by the sulfuric compounds that actually get stuck in your mouth. They get stuck either between your teeth, in the pockets of your gums, or on your tongue. As the food is broken down and rots in your mouth, it begins to smell worse, thus giving you bad breath.
The second way allium plants affect your breath is slightly more complicated. When you eat garlic and other allium plants, you digest certain chemical compounds. The one that affects your breath is known as allyl methyl sulfide. This chemical comes out as a gas and is absorbed into the bloodstream. By traveling through the blood it is able to enter the lungs where it is exhaled. Unfortunately for us, allyl methyl sulfide gives off quite a harsh smell. This is why garlic, onions, and all of the allium plants give you bad breath that’s almost impossible to combat.
Getting Rid of Garlic and Onion Breath
There’s good news and bad news when combating garlic and onion breath. First, the bad news: The only way to completely eliminate garlic and onion breath is by not eating garlic and onions. That’s because there really is no way to remove the smell of garlic or onions from your bloodstream. The good news, however, is that, although you can’t completely eliminate the smell of garlic or onions, you can get rid of a good deal of the smell as well as take preventative measures to ensure your bad breath doesn’t get out of control.
Brush, Floss and Use Mouthwash
Of course, first and foremost, the best way to rid your mouth of garlic and onion breath is with proper hygiene practices. Flossing, brushing, and mouthwash will all help remove food particles in your mouth while killing bad bacteria and leaving your mouth looking and feeling fresh.
Parsley Can Help With Bad Breath
Ever see that little sprig of green on your plate at a restaurant? That’s parsley and it’s there to help your mouth. Chewing that bit of green can help neutralize the odors of garlic and onions. Even better, parsley in the meal can help keep the bad breath from developing in the first place.
Eat Lemons to Neutralize the Garlic and Onion Odor
Lemons help by neutralizing garlic and onion odor while also killing the bad bacteria associated with bad breath. Try sucking on a lemon wedge after a meal that’s loaded with either of the two smelly plants. Your breath will feel fresher almost instantly.
Drink Green Tea
If you’re concerned about bad garlic or onion breath, drinking green tea can really help. The polyphenols in tea are able to combat and reduce the amount of sulfur compounds produced by them.
Drink Milk While You're Eating the Smelly Food
And lastly, for those who are most concerned about their breath, studies have shown that milk can actually help reduce the odor of garlic or onions. Though for best possible results, one should drink milk with every bite of they take.
While fighting bad breath from allium plants might be a hard task, there are plenty of ways you can help prevent bad breath from occurring. Whether by brushing and flossing, or trying out some home remedies, you can help reduce the smell of garlic and onions on your breath.
For more information about the best and worst foods for your breath, click here. We here at Water Tower Dental Care are always happy to help you with any oral health questions you may have. Feel free to contact Water Tower Dental today.