For regular smokers, one of the most noticeable effects (aside from the lingering smell of cigarette smoke) is bad breath. Cigarette breath may lead to halitosis, an oral health problem, when untreated or ignored for long periods. A study published in Gastroenterology Review shows halitosis affects a few to over 50% of the population. It has become a growing social problem as it affects a person’s self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
Patients who suffer from halitosis should pay attention to appropriate oral hygiene, diet, and other odor-masking preparations. In today’s article, we’ll look at some essential tips as recommended by experts on how to get rid of cigarette breath:
What causes cigarette breath?
Before we dive into the tips for getting rid of cigarette breath, it’s essential to take the time to understand how and why it occurs. Our previous post on “How to Reverse Skin Damages Caused by Smoking and Drinking” discussed how the chemicals contained in traditional cigarettes don’t only cause damage to our skin but our oral hygiene as well. Namely, long-term smoking is known to cause the yellowing of teeth. Smokers are also said to lose teeth twice as fast as non-smokers. Most importantly, bad breath and gum disease are common among smokers.
A Toxicology Reports study on the influence of smoking on halitosis development found that cigarette smoking is associated with the development of halitosis due to hyposalivation — the condition of having reduced saliva production. Reduced saliva production can cause dry mouth, often associated with bad breath. As mentioned earlier, current smokers are more likely to suffer from halitosis than non-smokers. At the same time, while oral hygiene habits in non-smokers and light smokers are comparable, heavy smokers have been found to have worse oral hygiene habits than both.
The study also notes that smokers are less likely to report halitosis or any symptoms of periodontal diseases, such as red or swollen gums. Finally, researchers highlight that some of the many chemicals found in cigarettes include toxicants that can alter the microbial ecology of the mouth through oxygen deprivation mechanisms. Below, we’ll delve into expert tips to help get rid of cigarette breath:
Swap out cigarettes for smokeless products
Unfortunately, continuing to smoke traditional cigarettes will lead to poor oral health and hygiene.
As mentioned above, long-term smoking causes hyposalivation. Other studies have found that saliva quality differs in smokers and non-smokers — smokers were found to produce thick saliva, whereas non-smokers had more thin and watery saliva. Why is this important? Saliva helps maintain oral hygiene and health by washing away bacteria and debris in the mouth.
One of the best ways to reduce hyposalivation and dry mouth sensation from smoking is by replacing your cigarettes with smokeless alternatives. Because no heat and lighting up are necessary for smokeless products, the mouth is less likely to be negatively impacted in terms of salivation. Most smokeless products are designed to offer nicotine microdoses without tobacco use. For many smokers who’d like to quit, these smokeless products are also a go-to to help them ease off the smoking habit instead of quitting cold turkey.
The nicotine pouch is a popular and discreet smokeless nicotine product that avoids the bad breath associated with tobacco. Prilla.com’s vast selection of nicotine pouches are all tobacco-free and come in refreshing flavors like peppermint and spearmint. This not only gives users their nicotine fix but also ensures that their breath has a clean freshness. Alongside better breath, nicotine pouches also help reduce teeth stains. If the mint flavors are too intense for you, you can check out the other flavor options, ranging from citrus to coffee, for a nicotine experience without the menthol burns.
Other smoke-free nicotine alternatives include nicotine patches and gums. LUCY’s line of nicotine gums promotes their principles of green chemistry by producing non-tobacco nicotine without clearing forests for tobacco plantations. Since launching their nicotine gums, LUCY has worked closely with the FDA to deliver innovative nicotine products to help smokers quit. It’s important to note that switching entirely from traditional cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives will take time and may be difficult due to the habit and potential withdrawal symptoms.
Below, we’ll look at more advice you can apply for better oral health while attempting to ease off cigarette usage in your daily life.
Don’t overuse mouthwash
One of the most common advice for getting rid of cigarette breath is to use mouthwash religiously. However, many experts disagree on this. Mouthwash may cause or irritate canker sores, cause dry mouth, or inflict “burning” and pain during use. Too frequent usage of mouthwash can also remove the healthy oral microbiomes that are supposed to help maintain oral health. While using mouthwash sparingly can help freshen your breath and treat halitosis, be mindful not to use it too much.
Learn proper brushing techniques
Brushing your teeth can be an overlooked part of your daily routine because you’re used to doing it so much. However, brushing your teeth incorrectly may cause gum or teeth damage and may not help much with cigarette breath. The ADA.org recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. The two minutes are crucial for significant plaque removal, and the fluoride toothpaste helps improve saliva quality and teeth health. Remember to brush all areas of your mouth and use soft-bristled toothbrushes to avoid gum injury.
Drink water for good oral health
Lastly, drinking non-water fluids such as fizzy or sugary drinks can leave behind unwanted sugars that bacteria feed on, turning them into acid that attacks the enamel coating that protects your teeth. Instead, experts recommend drinking more water to wash away food deposits that may cause bad breath. Moreover, a lack of water can cause a dry mouth. Sipping water throughout the day will hydrate you, reducing dry mouth and preventing bad breath. Additionally, water intake is associated with overall oral health as water also helps prevent tooth decay caused by leftover food particles in your teeth. In general, water is excellent for keeping your body in tip-top shape and running smoothly. One tip is to carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go so you can drink from it throughout the day. Setting an alarm reminder will also help you drink more frequently.