Does Chewing Parsley Really Stop Bad Breath?

You may have heard that chewing on parsley helps bad breath. Is parsley for breath odor really effective?

No one wants to offend someone with their breath. A person with bad breath will often feverishly search for the right product to make their breath smell sweeter. Unfortunately, many commercial mouthwashes mask the odor without addressing the underlying problem. There are a variety of medical conditions that can cause bad breath, but the usual cause is an overabundance of sulfur producing bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue. One solution that’s often recommended for bad breath is chewing on fresh parsley. This age old solution has been passed down over the years; but does it really work? Is parsley for breath odor effective?

Because bad breath usually stems from sulfur producing bacteria in the mouth, the most effective way to eliminate the odor is to wipe out the offending bacteria. There’s evidence that the polyphenols found in green tea and the “good” bacteria found in yogurt can inhibit the growth of many of these odor producing bacteria. As far as parsley for breath odor, the news is not so good. Like mouthwashes and rinses that don’t really solve the problem, chewing on parsley masks bad breath odor temporarily rather than truly solving the problem.

Still, parsley for breath odor is an old folk remedy that many people swear by. Parsley is believed to be effective because it’s a good source of chlorophyll, a compound thought to have anti-bacterial properties. Although some studies show that chlorophyll kills bacteria, study results have been inconsistent. In the case of bad breath odor, parsley doesn’t seem to have enough anti-bacterial impact to wipe out the sulfur compounds that cause the breath to smell. Chewing on a sprig of parsley may temporarily reduce the odor of bad breath, but it may be no more effective than chewing on other herbs. Chewing on almost any fresh herb will have some short-term impact on breath odor by stimulating saliva flow. In fact, cinnamon may be a better herb to chew since it appears to have anti-bacterial activity and a refreshing smell as well.

The bottom line when it comes to parsley for breath odor? Chewing on parsley is likely only a temporary fix for bad breath odor. Chewing on a stick of cinnamon, sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol is a better option since both xylitol and cinnamon have anti-bacterial properties. The act of chewing gum also stimulates saliva flow which helps to wash out odor causing bacteria. Keep a pack in your pocket and save the parsley as a garnish instead.

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  1. To think of all those companies that are making Garlic supplements with parsley to avoid “garlic breathe”,
    Very interesting artilce

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