Skip to content

Food & Recipes

Font Size

Why Garlic Is the Bad Breath King


"Conversely, AMS concentrations in mouth air remained high for the four hours after garlic ingestion and were similar to levels in the alveolar [lung] and urine samples, indicating that this gas had undergone absorption form the gut and was being released from systemic sites," write the authors. In other words, the gas was going into the blood, circulating around the body, and being excreted in the breath and urine.

The researchers also showed that, after the five subjects brushed their teeth with toothpaste containing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, levels of the orally generated sulfur gases went down to almost nothing -- but not the levels of allyl methyl sulfide, which remained pretty high.

"If you eat garlic, it doesn't matter what you do," Suarez says. "You are always going to smell some garlic."

In an article that appeared in the journal Gastroenterology, William Hasler, MD, responds to this issue by proposing the possibility of bad breath, or halitosis, help in the form of a dietary supplement.

"Finally, the findings [of this study] raise the question as to whether a dietary supplement could be developed that assists in gut metabolism of gases such as allyl methyl sulfide so that garlic lovers could enjoy their meals in much the same manner as supplemental lactase has allowed milk-intolerant individuals to tolerate dairy products," he writes.

Allyl methyl sulfide aside, Suarez says you can decrease the amount of sulfur-containing gases, created by garlic and other culprits, in your mouth by brushing your tongue, where many bacteria live.

Suarez offers one more solution to bad breath he discovered from his new study: "We used H2O2 -- hydrogen peroxide -- you gargle with that for one minute," he says. "It is very cheap, and you can decrease the sulfur-containing gases for eight hours."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

roasted chicken
grilled steak

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

vegetarian sandwich
vegan soup
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow