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How can I suppress bad breath after eating garlic or onion?

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I think you should dump your partner if they don't appreciate that smell :P... anywho back to the point, sometimes the bad breath is coming from your stomach (especially when burping is involved) and other times it's coming from your mouth. So there the usual, brush, scrub, and gargle. I'd recommend eating parsley. –  dassouki Aug 13 '10 at 12:00
would sucking one of these help I wonder? –  Sam Holder Aug 13 '10 at 12:01
My buddy literally oozes garlic out his pores when he sweats, he had to cut it from his diet because his wife was complaining. Ouch! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 13 '10 at 13:30
Am I the only one who feels this is off topic? –  hobodave Aug 13 '10 at 21:38
It's eating-related,ingredient-related, possibly addresses a unique aspect of sulfurous foods, includes foods (herbs, lemon) as components of the answers. I think it's borderline. It would be better phrased to add the 'why' garlic and onions have this effect, so that the food-science is better explained (as well as for potential cures). –  Ocaasi Aug 14 '10 at 1:52

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted
  1. Brush and floss your teeth
  2. Scrape your tongue
  3. Chew gum or mints
  4. Chew mint, parsley, basil, fennel, licorice, anise, cardamom, clove, or cinnamon
  5. Gargle with baking soda and salt
  6. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide
  7. Gargle with water and lemon
  8. Gargle with alcohol or mouthwash
  9. Hydrate
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hydrogen peroxide? in the mouth? are you sure? –  iwein Aug 13 '10 at 21:41
@iwein 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used as an oral debriding agent (it kills the surface cells and bacteria). It's on the standard bottle instructions for every unit I've seen in the US. Over the counter, any drug-store or market. Gargle for 1-10 minutes. It tingles, foams a bit. Don't swallow. Almost 100% sure. –  Ocaasi Aug 13 '10 at 22:08
Make sure it's "Food Grade" Hydrogen Peroxide however. –  jontyc Mar 30 '12 at 9:23

Raw veggies are your friend, the more chlorophyll (the green stuff) the better. I say raw because the fibers clean your teeth. The chlorophyll reacts with the sulfur and neutralizes the bad smell. Just keep chewing and you'll be fine.

Eating vegetables if of course not a replacement for proper mouth hygiene, but interestingly with garlic it is more effective to chew parsley than to brush your teeth.

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"Chlorophyll", not "chlorofyl". Can someone with rep to edit please correct? –  Neil Fein Aug 14 '10 at 2:13
Thanks for checking the spelling. Both chlorophyll and chlorophyl are correct, also fibre and fiber are both correct. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fibre thefreedictionary.com/chlorophyl (webster doesn't have my back there ;) ) –  iwein Aug 21 '10 at 11:06

I think it makes a lot of difference how you cook with the garlic (or onion). If you put the fresh garlic on a very hot flame for a minute or two, and then put the fire down, you keep all the good attributes of the garlic, but dramatically reduce the smell it creates from your mouth.

Bad breath could also come from other problems. Getting advice from a dentist can help there.

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You should drink milk. It is much better than trying to rinse with water. It is actually proven, the study was published in the journal of food science.

The most important sentences fo the abstract are:

Fat-free and whole milk significantly reduced the head-, mouth-, and nose-space concentrations of all volatiles. Water was the major component in milk responsible for the deodorization of volatiles.


Milk was more effective than water and 10% sodium caseinate in the deodorization of allyl methyl sulfide, a persistent garlic odor, in the mouth after garlic ingestion.

The work being a bit theoretical, they also insist that mixing the garlich with milk before consuming it results in less bad breath than if you drink milk after eating garlic. In fact, I often don't have the possibility or inclination to do it, and I would be wary to extend the findings to other dairy products (if they had tried yogurt insead of milk, we'd know that tzatziki is a more business-friendy form of garlic than a tomato sauce).

The whole study is available online, no paywall.

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+1 tried. actually help. Yogurt works even better i found. –  KMC Feb 20 '12 at 11:18

Chewing coffee beans suppresses the bad smell from your mouth. People usually look at me sideways when I order a couple coffee beans in a restaurant, but it really helps. It does not however suppress the odor of your skin a day after you eat onion or garlic.

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If a toothbrush isn't handy, Altoids can cover for you for a while.

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