Why Raw Onion and Garlic Give Bad Breath? Home Remedies To Cure

Have you noticed that after eating a lot of raw onion or even cooked garlic, your breath smells like them for hours? Onion and garlic add flavour to many foods, but they are known to give people bad breath. People who cook often worry about this because when these strong foods are chopped or crushed, sulfur-containing chemicals are released. The chemicals stay in the mouth and get into the bloodstream, which can make breath smell bad for hours. Despite how good they taste in food, onion and garlic breath is unpleasant and needs to be avoided for social reasons and personal comfort. There are, luckily, many things that can be done, such as better mouth care and dietary changes, to lessen the effects and keep your breath fresh after eating these tasty ingredients. 

Why They Give People Bad Breath 

Many of the taste molecules in onion are sulfur-based, such as Allyl Methyl Sulphide, and they are notoriously hard to break down. It enters your bloodstream through your gut and into your small intestine. The hepatic portal vein brings blood from the small intestine to the liver, which is full of minerals from your food. In addition, the liver acts as a big security guard, breaking down things that shouldn't be in your blood.  It's cleansing. Eating a lot of raw onions makes your liver work too hard to break down AMS, so it lets it through. Additionally, this is how booze gets into your blood, since your liver can only handle a certain amount. This means that AMS is currently running through your blood. Don't worry—your lungs will pull AMS out when the pulmonary artery gets to them. It also escapes with your breath because it is volatile. Here's why you have onion breath: there are even more molecules in garlic that can't be broken down, so your sweat glands pull them out of your blood, making your whole body smell like garlic. In contrast, rubbing raw onions with lime juice breaks down the citric acid, which lowers the onion smell. 

On his Instagram post, Cookbook author Krish Ashok captions, “When I was growing up, a particularly popular dad-joke was “while an apple a day keeps a doctor away, an onion and garlic a day keeps everyone away”, and while the joke was ostensibly about garlic/onion breath, the real message there is that while the odour might be socially unacceptable, the sulphur molecules in alliums are all actually really good for you! While there is actually no evidence that an apple will indeed keep a doctor away (the truer statement is - a consumption of a diversity of fruits will keep you healthy), onion and garlic are fantastic for you, notwithstanding their unfortunate “Tamasik” categorisation by Ayurveda.” 

How To Cure 

Oral Hygiene Routine 

Start by brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums thoroughly after consuming onions or garlic. Use toothpaste with fluoride and antibacterial properties to combat odour-causing bacteria. Follow up with flossing and rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash to remove food particles and bacteria trapped between teeth and in the crevices of your mouth. 

Stay Hydrated 

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush out odorous compounds from your mouth and body. Choose beverages like green tea or peppermint tea, known for their antibacterial properties and ability to freshen breath. 

Chew Gum or Mints 

Sugar-free gum or mints containing xylitol can stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize odours and rinse away food particles. Look for products specifically formulated to freshen your breath and avoid those with added sugars, as sugar can contribute to bacterial growth. 

Herbal Remedies 

Chew on fresh parsley or mint leaves, both of which contain chlorophyll, a natural deodorizer that can help mask odours and freshen breath. Alternatively, try chewing on a small piece of ginger or cardamom, known for its  aromatic properties. 

Dietary Adjustments 

Temporarily limit or avoid consuming onions and garlic if you have an important social event or meeting. Instead, go for alternative flavourings like herbs, spices, or citrus juices to add depth to your dishes without causing bad breath.