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Why Does Garlic Make Your Breath Stink?

"Hey doc, why does my breath always stink after I eat garlic?"

Ooh‚ that's a spicy question, and I've got an answer for you.

Personally, I love garlic, especially in Italian food, but a lot of people steer clear of dishes that contain garlic because they know the scent will stay with them for a long time.

The smelly culprit in garlic is sulfur—a chemical that gives off a rotten-egg smell.

The bacteria that live in your mouth eat up the sulfur, then release gasses that are filled with the foul-smelling chemical.

And it's not just your breath that stinks—garlic is the pungent gift that keeps on giving.

The sulfurous compounds float through the bloodstream, making their way to your lungs and skin.

So, as you're polishing off that plate of spaghetti carbonara for lunch, remember that along with garlic breath, you may also be wearing garlicky perfume on the rest of your body for the next few hours.

The only real way to prevent "garlic breath" is to stop eating the stuff. But if you like garlic, either for its taste or its health benefits, using mouthwash, brushing and flossing your teeth should mask the smell long enough so that your friends won't avoid you.

This entry last modified on: January 8, 2013 3:58 PM

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About the Video

Why does garlic make your breath stink? Dr. Charlotte Grayson answers this question and tells you how to keep garlic from fouling your breath.


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