Garlic is delicious and healthy, but it does make your mouth smell like shit. What can you do about this? The 10 best proven tips you will find in this article.
Did you know that garlic is very good for you? It contains vitamins B1, B6 and C, several minerals such as selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and calcium, and the amino acid tryptophan. Garlic is good for the entire immune system and is said to have a good effect on colds, flu, cardiovascular disease, anemia, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and obesity, among others. But the foul smells from your mouth can last for a few hours (sometimes even two days!).
Why does garlic stink?
After eating garlic, you may smell quite a bit from your mouth. How does this happen? Food is broken down in your stomach by stomach acids. Normally this happens without you noticing it. However, when garlic is broken down, volatile sulfur compounds are released. Those gases (especially allylmethylsulfide) smell. They come out through the mouth, skin and urine.
How can you remedy garlic breath?
1. Neutralize sulfur gases.
Of course, the best thing to do is to tackle the smell at the source and counteract the stinking sulfur gases (allylmethylsufide) directly in the stomach. There’s really only one remedy that does that: St. Sin’s anti-garlic breath sweets. These destroy and neutralize the odors in the stomach before they can escape through your pores and lungs. Within thirty minutes you will no longer suffer from garlic breath. Incidentally, the sweets also work against an onion smell. Useful if you have a nice meal with garlic and onions have eaten! The effect of St. Sin Garlic is scientifically proven and the sweets are even recommended by dental hygienists.
2. Raw apple
Raw apple and raw lettuce reduce the volatile compounds by half, research has shown. Apple juice and mint juice also reduced the amount of volatiles, but not as effectively as apple. This works in two ways: apple and lettuce contain elements that counteract the sulfur gases. If you eat the apple or lettuce raw, enzymes in the raw food also directly help counteract the foul odors.
3. Green tea, spinach, parsley, fresh mint, basil, lemon juice
Although raw apple and raw lettuce are the most effective foods, research has shown that green tea, spinach, parsley, fresh mint, lemon (juice) and basil can also have a positive effect on garlic breath. These foods are best eaten raw. It contains polyphenols, which break down the sharp components in garlic. Lemon juice is said to be especially helpful with pressed raw garlic. Be careful, though: lemon is very acidic and can corrode the enamel of teeth.
4. Fresh garlic
It makes quite a difference whether you eat fresh or dried garlic. The fresher the garlic, the less intense the smell. Garlic powder smells the worst, but dried garlic also gives off quite an odor. You probably think you’re using fresh garlic when you buy it at the supermarket. That’s not the case: that is dried garlic from China, which is often 1 or 2 years old! Garlic is also grown in the Netherlands. You can often buy this fresh garlic at the market or at the greengrocer’s. You can recognize it by the green stem attached to the bulb. It’s worth the effort, because this fresh variety smells a lot less than the dried ones!
5. Large pieces of garlic
It doesn’t really matter how many cloves of garlic you put in your food, it’s how you cut and prepare garlic that counts. The more you damage garlic, the more intense the smell. Whole cooked cloves hardly smell at all, coarsely cut more, finely rubbed the most. Here’s the thing: the cells of garlic contain the odorless sulfur substance alliin and the inactive enzyme alliinase. When garlic is cut or pressed, the cells break down. The alliinase then becomes active and forms the substance allicin with the released alliin. This is a sulfur substance that smells foul. The more cells that are broken, the worse the smell. If you do not want to smell out of your mouth, make sure you do not cut garlic too fine! And another tip: don’t use the inner part of the garlic clove; it smells the most.
6. Baking or stewing
Whether garlic is raw, baked or stewed makes a big difference to the smell in your mouth. Raw garlic gives off a strong garlic stench, baked somewhat less so, and long stewed (whole) cloves almost none. In short: stewing large, fresh pieces of garlic for a long time gives the least smell.
There are signs that drinking milk (especially full-fat, fatty milk) will relieve the garlic smell. However, milk has a major drawback: it can itself be the cause of bad breath! The dismantling of milk proteins from dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt in the mouth releases bacteria that can cause bad breath. So not the best tip.
Bacteria in the mouth can convert the sulfur compounds from garlic into a foul odor. To prevent this and eliminate the bacteria, it is best to use a mouthwash that contains active oxygen (sodium chlorite). This has an antibacterial and salivary stimulating effect, so that the mouth remains moist and bacteria cannot multiply so easily; after all, bacteria do not like oxygen. Rinsing with a mouthwash that contains active oxygen releases oxygen molecules that these bacteria can’t tolerate and die off.
9. Good oral hygiene
Although foul garlic smell mainly comes from your skin and lungs, it is important to keep your mouth clean. After all, garlic residue can linger there too. Moreover, you feel more comfortable with a clean mouth. So brush well, but don’t forget the tongue! There are many bacteria on the surface that can make things worse. Scrape it off!
10. Stainless steel
You may have heard that to remove the smell of garlic from your hands, you can rub them on stainless steel. There are special “soaps” for that, but you can also rub your hands over a stainless steel sink or faucet. This is how it works: the odorants are likely to stick to the surface. Also, allicin, a sulfur-containing odorant in garlic, appears to bind to the stainless steel surface via iron oxide. If the compounds stick to the stainless steel surface, they will most likely be broken down into odorless, water-soluble compounds.
To start licking the sink now is going a bit far. But there are tongue cleaners made of stainless steel. A metal surface is nice anyway because it prevents bacteria from living on the tongue cleaner itself. But because this tongue scraper is made of stainless steel, it can therefore also remove garlic breath extra effectively.