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Bad Breath (halitosis) Research

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What about smoking?

cigarettesFor at least a century, people have smoked in order to cover up other oral odors. In my mind, this is not advisable. First, smoking itself is a health hazard, not only to you, but to those around you. Smoking can exacerbate gum (periodontal) disease and post-nasal drip, two important bad breath risks. Furthermore, in many people, the smoke odor lingers in the mouth itself and mixes with the other smells, resulting in a particularly noxious aroma.

Smoke odor comes out of two places: the mouth and the lungs. Interestingly, in some people the smell from the lungs is much weaker than that coming out of the mouth. This observation indicates that smoke components are retained in the mouth itself. On one hand, it is true that this may have an effect in reducing the activity of bacteria in the mouth. However, the toxic components in smoke have a similar effect in injuring our own cells. All in all, smoking is not a good idea as far as breath freshening is concerned.

By the way, I have, on occasion, smelled tobacco smoke on the breath of people who don't smoke at all. These individuals have been continually exposed to the smoke of others, and end up having telltale odor as a result.