Why Milk Will Help You Get Rid Of Garlic Breath

Garlic is one of the most delicious and versatile veggies out there, but it can also be one of the most unpleasant if it's on your breath. A delightful garlic bread, pasta, or some other pungent, garlic-heavy dish can leave you reeking of garlic every time you open your mouth, an off-putting odor for anyone you're dining with — or simply speaking to. Fortunately, a bit of milk is all you need to freshen up.

While a tall glass of milk might not seem like it would pair well with garlicky food, there's some real science behind how it eliminates unpleasant smells on your breath. First, it's important to understand why garlic creates such a stench. When garlic is crushed (i.e., when it's cut or chewed), it produces several organic compounds. Among them is allyl methyl sulfide, which not only smells very potent but takes a while to break down.

This compound, however, meets its match in a glass of milk, as the fat in milk neutralizes the sulfur compounds that create garlic breath. At the same time, the water in milk rinses out your mouth, removing any physical presence of garlic or its odorous components. This one-two punch is enough to handle most typical cases of garlic breath.

Other garlic-fighting strategies

Based on the general principles of the milk hack, you can expect fattier varieties like whole milk or 2% to be more effective than low-fat skim milk. If you're sensitive to dairy or simply don't like milk, however, you do have other options for getting rid of garlic breath. Eating a fresh apple is another good choice, as is chewing raw parsley, mint, or lettuce. Of course, a thorough tooth brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping can also provide a comprehensive freshening.

Those concerned about garlic breath should also consider how they're preparing their meal. Garlic's pungent flavor increases as more of its cells are crushed, meaning whole crushed cloves will produce a milder, less odorous taste than sliced garlic, which, in turn, is less intense than minced garlic or garlic paste. Now that you have a few easy, convenient tricks in your back pocket, you can chow down on garlic without the fear of bad breath — you might even want to try a few new recipes for garlic lovers.