A portion of my clients are smokers... and for these individuals, one the first thing I recommend is quitting. Quit right now, if not for your lungs and heart, for your breath. Many of my clients insist their halitosis is not – in fact - smoking related. “The smell isn’t smoky,” they insist. Or “I had bad breath even before I smoked.” Or (my favorite), “But the smoke covers up the smell.” (Trust me folks, it doesn’t.)
Smoking’s contribution to bad breath is not merely adding the cigarette smell to the mix. The real issue is the oral environment the smoking habit results in. As any knowledgeable halitosis specialist will tell you, the oral environment is one of the key variables in treating halitosis.
It’s Dry in Here
A healthy mouth uses saliva to clear away and break down debris, while also neutralizing acids. Mouths that do not have a healthy level of saliva are more prone to tooth decay, bacterial build-up, yeast infections and gum disease, all of which can contribute to bad breath. The dry mouth condition - also known as xerostomia -can be caused by a number of things, from genetics to alcohol to prescription medicine. And yes, smoking also promotes a very dry mouth environment. The result is a place where bacteria thrive, resulting in chronic bad breath.
If you struggle to give up smoking – and I understand it is a struggle – consider treating your mouth in the meantime with a dry mouth spray or lozenge. Some individuals also switch to vaporized e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through water vapor rather than smoke. While not ideal, it does diminish the dry mouth state.
Periodontal Disease Has Nothing to Do with Dinosaurs
Persistent bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth are common warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. This condition is the result of excessive plague buildup on teeth, which then leads to chronic bacterial buildup that irritates and inflames the gums. It is an unpleasant often painful condition, and according to the American Academy of Periodontology, smoking (and tobacco use in general) is one of the single largest causes of periodontal disease (gum disease).
But... It Might Be More than Your Smokes
While smoking is a major contributor to bad breath, it may not be the only variable in your particular halitosis condition. There are a multitude of physiological and biological aspects worth examination. If you have kicked the habit or suspect there is more at play in your particular circumstance, contact the Center for Breath Cure for a free consultation with a halitosis dental specialist. Until you truly identify the underlying causes of your bad breath, you cannot fully cure halitosis, so it is critical you visit a specialist so that they can determine the underlying medical or physiological reasons for your condition.
If you need help quitting smoking, there are a number of fantastic programs available to help you kick the habit. I recommend visiting The American Cancer Society’s Guide to quitting smoking or speaking with your physician about your smoking cessation options.
About Dr. Dailley: Dr. Dailley has been practicing dentistry since 1981 and founded the Center for Breath Treatment in 1996. He holds a degree in Cell & Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University as well as a Dental Degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. Dr. Dailley performs on-going research on medical approaches for getting rid of bad breath. Visit Dr. Dailley, the bad breath dentist with a 99% success rate.Tweet this!