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Garlic is one of the best way to flavor a meal. Sure, a little salt goes a long way, but garlic’s flavor is strong, delicious and complements many kinds of cuisine.

Before eagerly indulging in that piece of garlic bread or generously slathering chimichurri sauce over your steak, something might give you pause.

Garlic breath.

Garlic smells delicious — when it’s part of a recipe — but not so much when it’s lingering on your breath after enjoying a garlic-filled feast.

There are many ways to get rid of garlic breath. In this article, we'll cover 12 of them, from natural remedies to oral health tips.

1. Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Brushing after eating foods high in sugar, starch and acid is recommended to keep plaque off your teeth and avoid build-up. In addition to these benefits, brushing can freshen up your garlic breath by washing off residual foods and their odors.

Find a quality toothpaste with antibacterial properties and a naturally fresh taste and scent to remove unwanted smells and eliminate the garlic taste in your mouth. The best advice for thoroughly cleaning your teeth is to brush twice a day, for at least two minutes each time.

We know you want to scrub off that garlic breath, but try not to brush too harshly. Gentle scrubbing should do the trick while keeping your enamel strong and healthy. 

What if you still have that garlic taste in your mouth after brushing? Remember that bacteria like to sit under the gum line and between teeth, so flossing can help reduce odor-causing bacteria and get into the places your toothbrush alone cannot. In addition to flossing at least once daily, add brushing and flossing into your after-garlic routine.

2. Clean Your Tongue

After eating garlicky foods, take a few more seconds to clean off your tongue every time you brush your teeth to remove odor-causing bacteria resting on your tongue that can be offensive to your breath.

Complete your brushing routine with a tongue scraper, or use your regular toothbrush to scrape off that yucky bacteria.

For best results, fill your mouth with some water to assist bacteria in washing away as you clean. Brush or scrape your tongue from back to front in a downward motion over the sink. You will know the job is done when no white residue remains.

Make tongue cleaning part of your daily brushing ritual to keep fresh breath all the time, not just after eating garlic.

3. Rinse with Mouthwash

If you don't have time to brush with your favorite toothpaste, you can opt for rinsing with mouthwash for a few moments after eating garlic to cover up the smell but also wash out any unwanted bacteria, plaque, and food particles, which also contribute to odor, as well as cover up the smell of garlic itself.

A mouthwash with chlorine dioxide can be very effective for eliminating malodor. Though using mouthwash is a quick and easy way to freshen your breath on the go, results will be best when combined with brushing and flossing.

4. Try Essential Oils

When you don’t have time to brush thoroughly or use a mouthwash, you can make a mouth rinse using a carrier oil combined with essential oils and water. These are some of the best essential oils for eliminating odor like garlic breath:

  • Rosemary
  • Myrrh
  • Eucalyptol
  • Peppermint

Here is how you can make and use the rinse: 

  1. Combine a teaspoon of carrier oil with a drop of one of the oils above. 
  2. Swish around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds to reduce bacteria and improve your breath. 
  3. Spit it out once you’re finished. Be sure not to swallow it! Essential oils, even when diluted, can cause stomach upset.

Essential oils can bring freshness to your favorite toothpaste as well — that’s why we include them in our Oral Wellness toothpaste with fluoride!

5. Gargle Baking Soda Homemade Mouthwash

You can make a homemade mouthwash by combining baking soda and warm water, then gargling for around 30 seconds. Baking soda rinse should help rid your mouth of any garlicky smells that might be hanging on.

6. Drink Water

Water can rinse unwanted flavors and odors from your mouth. You may also add a squirt of lemon to your water to taste. The bright, citrusy scent can help with odor reduction. Water also helps encourage saliva production, so the mouth can rinse itself throughout the day. Drink water often to keep your mouth healthy and clean. 

7. Chew Gum

Minty chewing gum can cover unwanted garlicky odors in a pinch, but this will only temporarily improve your breath. However, similar to drinking water, chewing gum can also aid in promoting healthy saliva production, which can help clean the mouth of bacteria, plaque, and food particles.

8. Drink Green Tea

In addition to the health benefits of drinking green tea, it can help relieve bad breath caused by eating foods like garlic, as well as help reduce plaque build-up in your mouth.

9. Drink Milk 

Milk may not immediately come to mind as an option for reducing unpleasant breath, but you should also consider it. A trial on the effect of milk and milk components on the deodorization of diallyl disulfide concluded that “ingesting beverages or foods with high water and/or fat content such as milk may help reduce the malodorous odor in breath after garlic ingestion and mask the garlic flavor during eating.”

You may find that drinking milk after consuming potent foods like garlic or onions can help reduce residual garlic breath. Still, sipping while eating should improve the odor left behind even more.

10. Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Another home remedy, supported by anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness in combating bad breath, involves drinking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar after consuming meals containing strong-smelling ingredients like garlic. You can drink apple cider vinegar diluted with water or gargle it on its own before rinsing. *We recommend you speak with your doctor before trying any home remedy.

11. Remove the Garlic Stem

Removing the stem of the garlic reduces its odor intensity while still allowing you to enjoy garlic's delicious taste. Cut each clove in half during preparation and remove the core, then continue to prepare and cook as usual. This will allow you to reduce unwanted smells without sacrificing your garlic's flavor.

12. Pair Garlic with the Right Foods

Pairing garlicky foods with suitable savory companions may help neutralize the garlic's odor.

Here are some foods that are most helpful for easing bad breath caused by ingesting garlic: 

  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Apples
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppermint
  • Basil 

For the best results, eat these foods raw with your garlicky meal.

Why Does The Smell of Garlic Linger?

Garlic is good for your health, as it is full of antioxidants, and studies show that garlic may enhance your immune cell function and even help you live longer. And we already mentioned how flavorful it is. 

But the question is — why does garlic odor stay on your breath for so long?

Well, for starters, garlic is high in sulfur compounds. You may have noticed that garlic does not smell while still in the bulb. This is because garlic bulbs must first be broken open and exposed to air to release the fullness of their scent. 

Once chopped and chewed, these pungent compounds move into the bloodstream during digestion, bringing the compounds (and their odor) into the lungs. From there, the garlic smell can come back up through the mouth (and even out through the pores) for several hours, sometimes up to a full day.

Use Twice Oral Wellness Products to Get Rid of Garlic Breath

Eating garlic may have some consequences for you in the breath department, but the fact that garlic likes to camp out on breath doesn’t outweigh what a great ingredient it is. You can have your garlic and eat it too.

Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are among our top tops for reducing garlic breath. While freshening up your breath with your daily oral health routine, why not enhance your oral wellness while you’re at it?

Twice oral care products are a holistic health system that combines cutting-edge science and clean ingredients for fresher breath, a healthy smile, and a balanced oral microbiome so you can shine bright inside and out.

The information in this article was written or reviewed for accuracy by the Twice Team. Learn more about us.