Drinking a glass of milk may be able to alleviate bad breath caused by garlic, according to a study in the Journal of Food Science. While this tentative finding is fairly thrilling - after all, garlic breath can endure like almost no other kind of halitosis - it is also paradoxical. Unfortunately for those who can't get enough garlic, milk can also cause bad breath.
In a column called the People's Pharmacy, healthcare experts at the Houston Chronicle recently noted that milk can lead to two types of bad breath, one being more typical than the other.
The less likely type is caused by lactose intolerance. The article's authors said that the condition, which is basically an inability to digest the sugars naturally found in dairy, may lead to halitosis, as well as gas, cramps, bloating and diarrhea.
The news source suggested taking a diagnostic test to see how much hydrogen is on one's breath. Lactose intolerance can lead to excess exhaled hydrogen, due mainly to the fact that the gas is given off by bacteria that cannot handle lactose, according to the Californian Pacific Medical Center.
Milk can also cause foul breath in a more pedestrian way. Traces of the beverage left in the mouth are quickly digested by oral microbes, which emit sulfurous molecules that smell quite pungent.
When lactose intolerance is not a problem, preventing milk breath can be as simple as brushing one's teeth or rinsing with a specialty breath freshener.