Smoker’s Breath; Causes and Treatment


According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently more than 1.1 billion active and regular smokers worldwide. This is despite the well-documented health risks of tobacco. There`s compelling evidence that links smoking to an array of health risks such as lung and throat cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, ulcers, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among other infections. Further studies indicate that cigar smoking and other forms of tobacco smoking increase the risk of oral infection, tooth discoloration, and xerostomia.

Smoker's Breath

Despite the many reasons for smokers to kick the nasty habit, many people often overlook the bad breath side effect that comes along with smoking tobacco products. Yes, it`s no secret that smoking is characterized by bad breath known as smoker’s breath.

Smokers breath is sufficient to put your close friends off. The severity of the condition gets worse as you continue to smoke for years. Research indicates that smokers who spend a significant portion of their lives smoking may experience an extra stinky breath that is difficult to rid.

Disturbingly, International Journal of Oral Science,  asserts that chronic smokers may experience a degeneration in olfactory sensitivity. In a nutshell, it means that such smokers may not realize or rather their sensitivity is limited to realizing that they`re suffering from smoker`s breath; and if they do, it may signify that their problem is more advanced that they might even think.

Smokers Breath

Bad breath and smoking

Smokers breath is referred to the pungent and malodorous odor that emanates from the mouth of a tobacco smoker.

Smokers Breath Causes

There are various causes of smokers breath. Although all the causes stem from the use of tobacco, they can overlap one another and manifest differently.

Here are the major causes of smokers breath;

  • Chemicals from Tobacco

Tobacco breath

The leading cause of smokers breath, which should not come as a surprise is the chemical compounds found in tobacco. Some of the common and active ingredients in tobacco include tar and nicotine.

When you smoke, these two ingredients are deposited along with your respiratory tract. These smoke particles can linger in your lungs for hours even after the cigar has been extinguished, and thus the musty odor associated with smoker`s breath.

  • Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth

Chemical compounds left in the mouth results to a host of other auxiliary causes of smokers breath. First, smoking causes the drying of the mouth, and it`s not hard to see why this happens. Repeated inhalation of hot smoke parches the oral structures including the tongue, teeth, throat, and upper palate. This desiccation process results to a dry mouth, or xerostomia.

When tobacco smoke dries your mouth, it leaves a dry, chemical-filled setting which acts as a haven for anaerobic oral bacteria. In such ideal conditions, these bacteria, especially the sulfur-producing bacteria to frenzy by feeding on the proteins in the mouth and producing volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are responsible for the pungent breath.

In the same breath, smoking inhibits the flow of saliva in the mouth. Remember that saliva plays an important role in cleansing your mouth, and is popularly known as the natural mouth cleanser. Free-flowing saliva can flush out bacteria and food particles stuck in the mouth. Also, saliva has an anti-bacterial property, which is instrumental in killing germs. Because, smoking inhibits the production of saliva, the odor-causing bacteria move freely and increase exponentially, consequently leading to a foul smell.

  • Oral infections

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, active smokers are four times more likely to have an oral infection compared to non-smokers.

See, when you smoke, you raise the temperature in your mouth. Consistent exposure to high temperatures can cause oral tissue cells to get damaged. With the oral cells damaged, your oral structures such as gums will not be able to perform their tasks efficiently and may lead to oral infections such as bleeding gums and gingivitis. These oral infections alone might form the basis of fetid breath.

  • General Hygiene Issues

Causes of fetid breath

The final cause of malodorous breath among smokers is somehow related poor oral hygiene. See, unlike non-smokers, tobacco smokers are always faced with the challenge of cleaning plaque on the gum line.

If proper dental hygiene is not maintained and the smoke plaque is allowed to accumulate along the gum line, it hardens to become tartar and starts to destroy teeth and gum tissues due to the intense bacterial activity on the film coating.

This can lead to gum infections and periodontal diseases such as periodontist, and gingivitis. In most cases, these oral infections are associated with breakaway dead cells and proteins, which provide food for the odor-causing bacteria.

Finally, similar to many body infections,Livestrong asserts that  smoking generally weakens the body`s immune system. A weakened immune system makes it harder for the body to fight off oral infections and impede rapid healing.

Here are several statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscore the effects of smoking on gum health.

  •  The more cigars you take, and the longer period you smoke, the greater the risk of developing an oral infection.
  •  Chronic smokers are resistant to successful treatment of oral infection due to tobacco`s effect on healing.

Effective Relief to Smokers Breath

Bad breath causes

The best and most effective remedy for combating smokers breathe to quit smoking. This will allow you and everyone around you to breathe easier. However, we are aware of how challenging it can be to kick out this habit all at once.

However, you should first consider lessening the intake of cigarettes, and this should take you a long way to boosting your health and breath.

In addition to quitting smoking, there`re other solutions that you can take.

These solutions include;

Proper Oral Hygiene

Maintaining proper dental hygiene should be the basic step on your journey towards a smokers breath-free experience. Ensure that you brush (using the best toothpaste) and flossl, and chew gums regularly to remove the plaque film along with your gum that might contribute to the smokers breath.

Drink plenty of water

As we`ve seen, smoking is associated with dry mouth, and to curb this condition; you should consume plenty of fluids, especially water. Fluids will not only stimulate the production of saliva but also flush out the nicotine and tar.

Consider an E-cigar

Using an e-cigar might seem like fighting evil with a lesser evil. However, e-cigars can be handy for chronic smokers since they do not dry the mouth compared to your regular cigarette. However, here, we always advise and caution smokers to quit smoking altogether for a mint breath.

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