Just what would you do in the name of science? Would you volunteer to eat raw garlic? According to the published study in The Journal of Food Science, scientists at Ohio State University’s Department of Food & Technology had volunteers eat raw garlic. Apparently, volunteers lined up to brave vampire breath to find effective foods that could slay the aftermath of the offending odor.
But what is it about garlic that makes it taste so good, yet leave our breath so foul? No matter what we eat or drink that foul smell haunts our breath like a bad dream. That lingering smell is actually the compound in garlic called allyl methyl sulphide (AMS). This sulphide compound is impossible for our digestive systems to break down so the only way the human body can release the compound is through sweating or through breathing.
The researchers had volunteers consume raw garlic and then measured the concentration of four bad-smelling compounds in their breath. Then the volunteers were asked to eat various foods that are believed to be bad breath fighters.
The Big Reveal: The Best Food for the Sweetest Breath Ever
What should you reach for when you’ve run out of mints or there’s no mouthwash handy? Apples are your first and best bet. Not only will an apple eliminate the garlic odor, but it also cleanses the palate. Professor Sheryl Barringer, the lead researcher, suggests “apples may help by ‘deodorizing’ the enzymes in garlic.”
The one common denominator exists in all the deodorizing foods tested: polyphenols. Mint, lemon juice, green tea, parsley, spinach and apples all contain polyphenols, and they all tested positive for the removal of garlic breath. Results suggest that it is the polyphenols that help breakdown the pungent smelling compounds. Other foods containing polyphenols include apple juice, raw broccoli, peaches and pomegranate juice. This suggests that you could try to reduce garlic smell in your breath by combining the garlic with foods that contain polyphenols. It just might make the aftermath of vampire breath a little less noticeable.
Other Culprits of Bad Breath
Beside garlic, onions are also known for affecting our breath for hours. Bad breath also comes in liquid form as both coffee and alcohol can also make a suitable environment for foul-smelling bacteria. Even worse both coffee and alcohol can dehydrate you quickly.
Without a flow of saliva, food debris and other bacteria stay lodged in the nooks and crannies of our teeth and gums. And there you have it, the perfect breeding ground for the beginning of gingivitis and gum disease.
When you think about it, any food has the potential to ruin your breath. The longer it lingers in your mouth, the greater chance your breath will smell bad. Simply brushing your teeth and tongue will get you back on track.
Yes. That’s right I said tongue. Why?
Sixty percent of bad breath is due to plaque residing in the tongue’s folds. And the best way to break away from this buildup is to use a tongue scraper twice daily.
This isn’t the first study dealing with AMSthat Professor Sheryl Barringer has conducted. In previous studies Dr. Barringer also found that milk significantly reduced the sulphide-based compound released after eating garlic. According to Dr. Barringer a small glass of milk consumed during a garlic-heavy meal can be quite effective. Evidently instead of a glass of red wine, we are to try milk with that next Italian dinner and reduce the AMS in our breath by over 50%.
Other Studies Provide Food for Thought
From Japan comes a study that suggests yogurt with probiotics or good bacteria can work just as well. According to WebMD, eating probiotics yogurt twice a day for six weeks can lower the sulfide compounds that cause dragon breath. If you give it a try, be sure to eat yogurt containing streptococci and lactobacilli bacteria for best results.
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Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790