Though there are many methods for reducing or covering up garlic breath, the only way to avoid it altogether is to not eat foods with garlic in them. Eating mints or chewing gum can help cover up the odor, but they won't really reduce it, since the smell is actually caused by a byproduct of garlic which is produced when it is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. The most effective ways for reducing garlic breath are consuming milk and brushing your teeth.
There are a number of things you can do to mask garlic breath. Rinsing with mouthwash, flossing and brushing your teeth are a few ways to clean your mouth of any lingering fragments of food that might cause odor. Don’t neglect your tongue when brushing. You can clean it by adding a bit of toothpaste to your brush and working on your tongue from back to front, thereby removing some of the odor.
Certain foods and beverages can also help get rid of garlic breath. One of the most effective ones is milk, which contains fats that neutralize allyl methyl sulfide. For the best results, you should drink the milk as you eat the garlic, not afterwards. Foods that contain polyphenols, like apples, spinach, and green tea can also help neutralize odors. You may also be able to reduce odors by eating parsley, mint, anise seeds, cardamom, cloves, and fennel work in the same manner. Other ways of eliminating or minimizing garlic breath are sucking on lemon wedges or chewing on coffee beans or grounds.
There are also pills that claim to be able to reduce garlic breath; however, they vary in terms of effectiveness. Many contain oils from known odor-reducing foods like parsley or fennel. Some supplements are also designed to be odor-free. Most of these have a specialized coating which keeps the supplement from being broken down until it reaches the stomach or intestines. Though this can keep you from having bad breath immediately after taking them, you might still get an odor afterwards when the supplement breaks down.
Garlic breath is caused by a substance called allyl methyl sulfide, which is produced when garlic is broken down in the body. The smell lasts for a long time because the allyl methyl sulfide is absorbed into the bloodstream. Since the body can't absorb this, it is released over the course of a few days in sweat and in breath, which is why the odor can last for several days. Besides the chemical component, garlic bits stuck between the teeth or in the mouth can also cause lasting odor.
The only way to totally avoid garlic breath is to avoid eating any foods with that particular ingredient in them. This includes things that have spice mixtures made with garlic, like salt mixtures and curry powder. If you take garlic supplements for your health, you can try getting odorless tablets.