What Is Smoker’s Breath and Can a Mint Help?

If you smoke, you have bad breath. These two facts almost seem to be connected at the hip, and thus far there has not been a remedy that effectively masks the breath of the affected smoker. For the longest time it was surmised that the bad breath only originated at the time of actually inhaling the smoke, and as soon as the cigarette was smoked, the bad breath would cease. While this may hold true for the occasional smoker, in chain smokers and those who light up frequently the bad breath appears to become rather persistent.

Causing this kind of bad breath is the gradual buildup of tar and also nicotine on the teeth, gums, and other mouth tissues. If you have ever visited the home of a smoker, you know that there is a yellowish discoloration that seems to be on every surface; at times this discoloration becomes an apparent buildup that can actually be washed or scraped off. This is the case in the mouth as well. Over time the buildup within the mouth traps bacteria which continue to break down sugar in an unfettered manner, thereby secreting sulfuric compounds that cause the bad breath.

Of course, there is more to smoker’s breath than merely the buildup of the chemical compounds within the oral cavity. In addition, the act of inhaling smoke serves to dry the mucous membranes in the mouth, causing dry mouth, a condition directly associated with a surge in the quantity of odor causing anaerobic bacteria. As you may know, saliva is directly related to the curtailing of odor causing bacteria by consistently washing them away. Each and every time that saliva accumulates in the mouth and is swallowed, bacteria are also removed and safely swallowed. The fewer bacteria there are in the mouth, the fewer odors it will emit.

As the membranes dry up, the important saliva goes missing, and before long the numbers of bacterial colonies spike. When combined with the buildup of tar and nicotine deposits in the mouth, these bacteria are virtually ensconced in a protective cocoon, and not even conscientious oral hygiene can reclaim an odorless mouth. At this stage, it is only the intervention of the dental hygienist that will make a significant difference in the absence or presence of bad breath. This has inspired some smokers to chew gum while smoking, in the hopes of not only masking the smell of the smoke, but also to prevent the buildup and the drying of the membranes.

Even as it is true that this has been found to be of marginal success, many a smoker only grudgingly participates in this practice, since it distorts the flavor of the smoke. As a matter of fact, some have reported that the mixing and matching of tastes is actually somewhat sickening. This underscores not only the ill effects of smoking, but it also showcases that some causes of bad breath simply defy a successful masking or neutralizing, and stopping the offending behavior might be the one decisive action that will prevent the bad breath from recurring.