Congratulations! You just ate all the garlic in Asia and now your breath smells like feet. Nice work. Ah, who am I kidding? Your breath actually smells pretty darn good. At least to you. If you didn't like the taste and smell of the stuff, you wouldn't have eaten it. Unfortunately, though, not everyone feels the same about garlic as you do. And just because you love the stuff does not necessarily mean you want to smell like it for the rest of the weekend, especially if you're planning on going out and hoping to get some action. Or maybe you've got a meeting with clients and don't want to offend anyone. There are a billion and a half different social scenarios that you would want fresh breath for. The point is you have garlic breath and you want it gone.
So what is it about garlic breath that makes it so ridiculously hard to get rid of? Well, I'm glad you asked. Besides the obvious, yet deliciously pungent aroma of garlic, you have to deal with this really cool gas found in garlic cloves called allyl methyl sulfide, or AMS. Notice the "sulfide" part? That's the giveaway. Turns out sulfurous gases don't smell very good. Who knew? On top of that, your body can't metabolize AMS, so it is absorbed by the bloodstream, taken to your lungs, and slowly expelled from your body over the next two or three days (up to 72 hours) through your breath. Now you can see why getting rid of garlic breath can be so difficult. While the only true way to cure garlic breath is to give it time, there are a number of things you can do and take to lessen bad breath from garlic.
Immediate Remedies for Bad Garlic Breath
Parsley and other herbs. Especially if you're at a restaurant, since it is frequently used as a garnish, chewing on parsley after eating should be your first defensive move to get rid of garlic breath. Besides being readily available, due to the high level of chlorophyll found in it, it actually works very well as a breath freshener. Just shove the entire sprig into your mouth and chew the hell out of it. If you're not at a restaurant, or you happen to have other herbs and spices around, you can also try chewing on mint, cardamom, cloves, or fennel.
Pucker up, baby. Even more readily available than parsley is lemon. One of the easiest ways to make use of this garlic breath remedy is to simply order some nice, fresh lemonade. Ask first to make sure it is real lemonade. Many cheap versions of the stuff have a ridiculous amount of sugar and very little actual lemon. Even better than lemonade, if you can stand it, is a lemon wedge. If you're eating garlicky food, there will be some lemon around. They're either cooking with it or putting it in drinks. Just ask for one, put it in your mouth, and go to town. It works well to chew on some of the peel too.
A nice cup of hot tea. These days it's getting more and more common to be able to find hot tea in restaurants. If you're in an Asian restaurant, you've got nothing to worry about. There's tea. If it's available, have yourself a cup of hot green tea. This will help you get rid of garlic breath by rinsing away the garlic oil that is hanging out in your mouth and on your teeth. Mint tea, if they have it, is another very good option. While green tea and mint tea are the best, any tea will help.
Carry mints and gum. For the most part, the only thing a mint is going to do for you is mask or cover up the garlic breath. It's usually just temporary, but that may be all you need. If the mints are made with real mint, peppermint, or wintergreen oils, all the better. Gums are good too. Yes, their primary function in getting rid of garlic breath is also just masking it, but chewing gum helps to dislodge bits of food like garlic that may be stuck between your teeth. If you don't have big chunks of it in your mouth, it stands to reason that the smell will be less noticeable.
Good oral hygiene. If you want to get rid of garlic breath, brush your teeth. I know it's an obvious solution, but people have a tendency to be embarrassed about using oral hygiene products in public places. Well, get over it. Carry a toothbrush, some floss, and even some mouthwash with you and don't be afraid to use your stuff in the public restrooms. Brush your teeth for at least three minutes, and do not forget to brush your tongue. When you're done, use the mouthwash. Ladies, keep the stuff in your purse. Gents, start carrying a man purse.
Commercial Garlic Breath Remedies
Bad breath from garlic, or any other type of halitosis for that matter, is one of the greatest causes for distraction between two people. It doesn't matter if you're having a business meeting, a casual conversation, or if you're hoping to lock lips with someone, bad breath is bad breath and can quickly dissolve any sort of mood, romantic or otherwise. This well-known fact has given rise to a multi-million dollar breath freshening industry. You've seen the commercials and you've walked through the stores. Breath freshening products are everywhere. It can be daunting. If you want to know how to get rid of garlic breath and don't feel like wading through an entire sea of breath fresheners to find one that works, let me recommend a few.
Eatwhatever. This is my favorite suggestion. A package of Eatwhatever comes with both breath mints for immediate results and gel caps that take time to begin working. The gel caps are filled with nice breath fresheners like sunflower, peppermint, and parsley seed oil, all three of which are commonly recommended to combat garlic breath.
Breath Away. This product is very similar to the gel caps mentioned in the product above. Breath Away is meant to cure garlic breath with sunflower oil and parsley seed oil.
TheraBreath Oral Rinse. This is a mouthwash that is commonly recommended for temporarily getting rid of garlic breath. It's got a bunch of good stuff in it including castor oil and peppermint oil.
Retardex Oral Rinse, Oral Spray, and Toothpaste. Though I've not personally used these products to get rid of garlic breath, they come highly recommended. These products are reported to break down the molecular bonds of odor-causing volatile sulphur compounds. And, as you remember, garlic has a high amount of allyl methyl sulfide.