Smoking and Halitosis - A Guide to Stop Smoking

Halitosis or ‘bad breath’ is one of several anti-social side effects of smoking. We have all been in a social situation with someone who smokes and noticed that their clothes, hair and breath smelt like an ashtray! This is also known as ‘smoker’s breath’.

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of things such as gum disease, throat infection or xerostomia (dry mouth), but tobacco is as equally as responsible.

Smoking not only affects your breath but also stains your teeth and reduces your sense of smell. It dries the saliva in your mouth which encourages the growth of bacteria that are responsible for bad breath.

It can also cause the growth of lesions in the lungs and mouth that cause bad breath. And cigarette smoke can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth and stomach leading to sores and ulcers. And these also cause bad breath.

Halitosis affects both cigarette smokers and those who chew tobacco and other smokeless versions.

Smoking also irritates the gums which then lead to gum disease. And gum disease is another cause of bad breath.

There are smokers who don’t realise that they have bad breath or have got used to it and don’t realise that it offends other people. If they are aware of this problem then they may try and disguise it by chewing mints or using a mouthwash. But, this is a short term measure only.

The answer is not to mask it but to deal with the underlying cause which is that of smoking. There is treatment available for bad breath but the best way of dealing with this is to stop smoking altogether.

For more information about quitting smoking, visit our Stopping Smoking section.

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