Halitosis Tobacco

Smoking and using other tobacco products can do more than just damage your health. Along with a host of serious diseases and health conditions, the use of tobacco also causes halitosis (bad breath.) Types of tobacco products that can give you bad breath include:

  • cigarettes
  • cigars
  • chewing tobacco
  • pipe tobacco.

How Tobacco Causes Bad Breath

Tobacco use causes bad breath in a number of ways. These include:

  • Dry Mouth: Smoking or chewing any tobacco product inhibits saliva flow and dries the mouth. Without enough saliva to wash the mouth, bacteria growth increases. As bacteria go though the metabolic process, unpleasant-smelling sulfur compounds are produced and bad breath results.
  • Gum Disease: Smoking and chewing tobacco both contribute to gum disease. Because of the dry mouth caused by tobacco use and the resulting bacteria growth, infections of the mouth and gums become more likely.In addition, tobacco use seems to cause the gums to lose some ability to stick to the teeth. As pockets are created, the area is more vulnerable to odor-causing tooth decay and gum infection.
  • Sinus Conditions: Smoking tobacco can make any existing sinus conditions, such as post nasal drip, more severe. These sinus conditions can lead to foul-smelling breath.
  • Tobacco Residue: When you use cigarettes, cigars or a pipe, unpleasant-smelling substances in the tobacco smoke, including tar and nicotine, are left on the insides of the cheeks, teeth and tongue. These substances build up on mouth surfaces and bad breath results.

Treating Bad Breath from Tobacco

The only way to cure bad breath caused by tobacco use is to quit. However, you can minimize tobacco-induced bad breath through meticulous oral hygiene. If you want to freshen your breath and continue to use tobacco, you will need to:

  • Brush your teeth and gums gently but thoroughly for two minutes, twice a day.
  • Brush your tongue and the insides of your cheeks each time you brush your teeth.
  • Floss between your teeth twice daily.
  • Rinse with alcohol-free, anti-bacterial mouthwash at least twice daily.
  • See your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and any dental treatment needed.

To fight dry mouth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy to help your body produce more saliva.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take frequent sips of water to keep the mouth moist.

Tips on Quitting Smoking and Using Tobacco

To completely get rid of bad breath from tobacco, quitting is the only answer. Tobacco is a hard habit to break, but it is not an impossible thing to do. Be sure to take advantage of the support of your friends and family. Quitting is easier if you don ‘t do it alone. If you can find another friend who wants to quit with you, this is an even better way to stick to your goals.

Whether you quit gradually or go cold turkey, it is important to understand the places and situations that trigger your desire to use tobacco. If you can avoid these triggers, that is the best solution. If not, be aware so you can find effective ways to handle your triggers.

Talk to your doctor about methods of quitting.


Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry (2007). Bad Breath Information Page. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from the Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry Web page: http://www.gumsurgery.com/bad breath.htm.

Animated-Teeth.com (2007). Bad Breath: Causes and Contributing Factors. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from the Animated-Teeth.com Web site: http://www.animated-teeth.com/bad_breath/t2_causes_of_bad_breath.

Drysdale, R. (2007). Bad Breath and Chewing Tobacco. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from the EzineArticles.com Web site: http://ezinearticles.com/?Bad-Breath-and-Chewing-Tobacco