To an extent, two prime agents of bad breath may cancel one another out when consumed at the same time. Recent research has suggested that drinking milk with a meal containing garlic may reduce the amount of volatile sulfur compounds that remain in the mouth and stomach.
Published in the Journal of Food Science, the findings confirm the previously existing notion that milk can dampen the effects of garlic on oral odor.
The odor compounds in garlic include diallyl disulfide, allyl methyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan and allyl methyl sulfide, which the study's authors said tend to remain primarily in the stomach.
Using ion ?ow tube-mass spectrometry, which separates gases into their constituent molecules, the team found that drinking whole or 2 percent milk during garlic consumption reduced the sulfuric traces of garlic breath by 95 percent within an hour.
The study had several limitations. First, garlic and milk had to be consumed simultaneously to get the desired effect on bad breath. Second, sulfuric compounds still remained even after milk consumption.
Rather than risk having milk breath and garlic breath simultaneously, individuals concerned about their halitosis may consider brushing their teeth after a garlicky meal and rinsing with a specialty breath freshener.