Why You Get Garlic Breath (And How to Stop It)

We know it as garlic breath, but a scientist might think of it as allyl methyl sulfide breath. That organic compound is the main culprit in the stench that often results after a garlic-infused meal, explains a new video by the American Chemical Society and the Compound Interest chemistry blog. Three other compounds also play a role, but allyl methyl sulfide takes longer to break down in the body and thus takes most of the blame.

None of the compounds are present in whole garlic but are instead created when the garlic is chopped or crushed, notes a summary of the video by NBC News. And it’s not as if the odor arises because you’ve got some garlic stuck in your teeth—it’s way more pernicious than that, explains Time. The offending compound enters the bloodstream and leaves the body through urine, sweat, and, yes, breath. What to do? The video suggests eating parsley or drinking milk. (Which might be necessary, because garlic is considered an aphrodisiac by some.)

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Photo credit: Flickr, calliope

61 comments

Val M.
Val M.2 years ago

Noted

Karen K.
Kay K.2 years ago

As long as everyone in the household eats it, then it's no problem! I believe a lot of the health benefits are better achieved with crushed garlic.

Dale O.

Garlic is marvellous and so is going to Garlic Festivals, where it is sometimes referred to as 'The Stinking Rose.'

An interesting article.

LMj Sunshine

Good hints.

LMj Sunshine

Good hints.

Manuela C.
Manuela C.2 years ago

Yup, that sucks (and onion breath too).

kathrynelizabet Etier

If smelling like garlic is your worst problem, you've got a great life. Enjoy it! Have some scampi or pesto.

june t.
june t.2 years ago

apparently I really stink when I eat garlic, even when trying the hints. Maybe some smell more than others.

Charmaine C.
Charmaine C.2 years ago

It's hardly a stench. I can think of umpteen smells that are more offensive.

Anne M.
anne M.2 years ago

Oh well.....................