9 Ways To Get Rid Of Garlic And Onion Breath Right Away

Reviewed by Dr. Thomas Connelly, DDS
Written by Shaheen Naser

The humble garlic and onion are a mainstay of many dishes. They are used in fried foods, soups, burgers, and pizzas. While they definitely add a kick to any cuisine, they may also cause garlic and onion breath. After all, both garlic and onion have one downside – bad breath. It is off-putting, and greeting someone with a foul breath might result in embarrassing situations. Your self-esteem might take a blow in this case.

The best way to avoid this is to refrain from eating garlic and onion. However, it may not always be feasible to resist the temptation to consume them. Moreover, it is also not wise to miss out on their health benefits. Don’t worry. We have some tricks to help you get rid of garlic and onion breath. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Does My Breath Smell Like Onions?

Onion or garlic breath is a common occurrence in many people. One of the main reasons for this is the consumption of garlic or onion in its raw form. These vegetables have sulfur-containing compounds, which give them a distinctive smell.

While both onions and garlic have a wide range of health and medicinal benefits, many avoid eating them as the bad breath may linger around for hours or even overnight.

Fortunately, there are helpful home remedies that can you can try out to eliminate onion or garlic breath.

9 Ways To Get Rid Of Garlic And Onion Breath

1. Brush And Floss

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Brushing and flossing are important steps of a good oral care regimen. They can help you get rid of onion/garlic breath by brushing away the residues that may be left in your mouth post eating, thereby reducing the odor almost instantly. However, they work best with tongue cleaning (1).

2. Use A Tongue Scraper

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Tongue cleaning helps in reducing the volatile sulfur compounds inside your mouth, thereby reducing halitosis as well as onion or garlic breath (2).

3. Rinse With Mouthwash

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Following a routine of tooth brushing, tongue cleaning, and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is a sure shot way to freshen your breath. Together, these practices were found to give the best results against halitosis or bad breath and may also be a great treatment option for garlic breath (1). Mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are one of the best options for getting rid of bad breath (3).

4. Baking Soda

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one to two teaspoons of baking soda to a cup of warm water.
  2. Mix well and use the solution to rinse your mouth.
How Often You Should Do This

You can rinse your mouth with this solution multiple times daily, preferably after every meal.

Why This Works

The action of bacteria on the sulfur-containing compounds from onion, garlic, and other foods is one of the main causes of bad breath. The antibacterial effect of baking soda can help reduce bad breath by fighting the oral bacteria responsible for triggering it (4).

5. Lemon Water

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of water.
  2. Mix well and use the solution to rinse your mouth for a few seconds.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times daily, preferably after your meals.

Why This Works

Lemon juice has a low pH. It deactivates the alliinase enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of sulfur compounds in the mouth, which results in bad breath (5).

6. Drink Milk

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Surprising as it may sound, consuming milk can actually mask the garlic breath. The effect is even more evident if milk is mixed with garlic before drinking. The high water and fat content in milk help in reducing garlic breath (6).

7. Chew Gum

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Chewing on any mint-flavored gum is usually a quick fix to mask bad breath. However, there are also many gums available that aim at getting rid of halitosis. Chewing gums that contain probiotics, zinc acetate, and magnolia bark, eucalyptus, and allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) with zinc lactate were found to be effective in managing bad breath (7).

8. Green Tea

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5-10 minutes and strain.
  3. Drink the warm tea.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink green tea 1-2 times daily, preferably right after a meal for best results.

Why This Works

Green tea exhibits disinfectant and deodorant properties that can help in getting rid of garlic or onion breath (8).

9. Apple

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You Will Need

A few slices of a cut apple

What You Have To Do

Chew on a few slices of a raw apple after meals.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

Raw apples can neutralize the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic and onion, thereby helping in the elimination of garlic or onion breath (5).

Garlic and onions add flavor to food and have many culinary applications. But, when eaten raw, they cause bad breath. However, there are some effective ways to get rid of garlic and onion breath. You can brush and floss, use a tongue scraper, or rinse with a mouthwash, baking soda, and lemon water to help remove bad breath. In addition, eating chewing gum or apples also helps reduce the bad breath.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does garlic breath last?

Garlic breath may last for a few minutes or even 24 hours in some individuals.

What causes garlic or onion breath?

One of the main causes of garlic or onion breath is the sulfur-containing compounds in both of them. These compounds emit a pungent and unpleasant odor that leads to bad breath. The breakdown of sulfur compounds in the mouth by oral microbes worsens the issue.

References

  1. Effectiveness of three oral hygiene regimens on oral malodor reduction: a randomized clinical trial” Trials, US National Library Of Medicine.
  2. A Cochrane systematic review finds tongue scrapers have short-term efficacy in controlling halitosis.” General Dentistry, US National Library Of Medicine.
  3. Efficacy of chlorine dioxide mouthwash in reducing oral malodor: A 2‐week randomized, double‐blind, crossover study” Clinical And Experimental Dental Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
  4. Effects of baking-soda-containing dentifrices on oral malodor.” Compendium Of Continuing Education In Dentistry” US National Library Of Medicine.
  5. Deodorization of garlic breath volatiles by food and food components. “ Journal of Food Science, US National Library Of Medicine.
  6. Effect of milk on the deodorization of malodorous breath after garlic ingestion.” Journal of Food Science, US National Library Of Medicine.
  7. The impact of chewing gum on halitosis parameters: a systematic review.” Journal of Breath Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
  8. Effect of green tea on volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air.” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, US National Library Of Medicine.

Key Takeaways

  • Brushing and flossing right after the meal and rinsing with mouthwashes is one way to reduce onion and garlic breath.
  • You can also try sipping a cup of green tea, which has disinfectant and deodorant properties.
  • Although surprising, drinking milk can mask the odor and reduce garlic breath.

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Dr. Thomas Connelly

(DDS)
Practicing in Beverly Hills and Manhattan, with experience that spans more than 21 years and several Northeastern states, Dr. Thomas... more

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