Alcohol is a popular drink of choice whether you’re relaxing, going out, or celebrating with friends and family. While we may enjoy the feeling our boozy beverages give us, no one enjoys the sour smell of alcohol breath.
What can you do about it? How do you prevent alcohol breath? How long does alcohol stay in your body and why is it so difficult to get rid of this odor drifting from my mouth the morning after a party?
Whether you’re wanting to kiss that gorgeous girl, talking to your boss at the Christmas party, or simply don’t enjoy the smell coming from in between your own lips, we’ve got you covered.
There is no doubt that alcohol is a beverage with an odor. This is why your breath smells worse after a night of drinking. The truth is beverages leave an odor in your mouth for a while after being ingested. This means if you drink whiskey, your breath will smell like whiskey, and if you drink coffee, your breath smells like coffee.
Why Does Alcohol Make Your Breath Smell?
The odor you smell after drinking is not generated within the mouth but is an internal sensation. When alcohol is absorbed into the body, it is metabolized differently, unlike other food substances.
This absorption is done quickly because the body considers alcohol to be a toxin, therefore, it metabolizes the substance. Once it is metabolized, since it flows through the blood, the lungs feel the impact which results in a boozy smell.
After alcohol is processed, it has a sweet and distinct odor. Whatever you drink, regardless of the brand or type of alcohol, whether it be a glass of wine, beer, or whiskey, will all have a distinct type of aroma.
With that said, let's look at the answer to our first question: “Why is it difficult to prevent or eliminate alcohol breath?”
The alcoholic smell is hard to get rid of because alcohol in the body is excreted through the pores, which is why an intoxicated person smells like alcohol from a distance. Your body can only process so much alcohol at a time and all unprocessed alcohol lingers in the body until it can be processed, leading to the body trying to get rid of it by releasing it however it can, whether from urine or skin. Your blood circulates the booze around your system and affects your entire body.
Alcohol also causes xerostomia (dryness of the mouth). This condition makes it easy for bacteria to thrive in the mouth and throat.
The best way to prevent your breath from smelling like alcohol is to limit your alcohol consumption and stay hydrated throughout the day. Further adherence to the following steps shown below will help prevent alcoholic breath.
Alcohol stimulates lousy breath, and the more often you drink alcohol, the more likely you will have this experience. Drinking alcohol decreases saliva production and makes the mouth a breeding ground for bacteria.
How To Prevent Alcohol Breath
No matter how much fun you had last night, you do not want to have your breath reek of booze. The following tips will help you have a great time while also maintaining fresh breath.
- Drink Moderately
Moderate drinking can help lessen the smell of alcohol. Sticking to a few shots or bottles of beer can be a viable option when it comes to maintaining your freshness.
On the other hand, heavy drinking can cause a distinct alcoholic odor as well as potential health issues, especially if repeated frequently.
A decrease in the quantity of alcohol consumed can help keep you looking neat and smart. We recommend drinking two drinks per sitting.
Allow your body time to metabolize the alcohol before consuming more. The rough estimate, depending on weight and age, is about one drink per hour. Give yourself time in between each drink to sip water to stave off hangovers and to keep your breath from smelling like a bottle of ethanol.
- Avoid Mixtures
Each type of alcohol has a unique odor. A mixture of different alcoholic beverages can make the overall odor worse while sticking to one particular brand will make your breath smell less.
Mixed drinks are usually paired with some sweet liquid such as soda, juice, or simple syrup. Alcohol already contains sugar, but the excess increases the likelihood of foul breath. You may think the sweet taste would cover the smell of the liquor, but bacteria loves sugar and it will multiply more aggressively in your mouth.
- Go for Simple Drinks
While it won’t get you hammered, alcohol with a lower percentage will help you drink in moderation. You’ll still have a drink in hand and have the experience of drinking without so much of the negative result.
Lighter beers, not necessarily lower in percentage, but in the levels of hops and wheat, will also give you a more mellow fire’s breath than the deeper notes of a stout or IPA.
Eating food with intense aromatics can help mask the odor produced by alcohol, especially when the meal contains garlic or onion. Using gum and mints can mask the smell as well. However, this effect only leads to temporal results.
How to Get Rid of Alcohol Breath
The smell of alcohol is one of the most distinct smells you can have on your breath. Having bad breath has forced many to rely on alternative measures to eliminate the odor caused by alcohol.
Unfortunately, none of these methods are perfect due to how strong the smell is. If you want to get rid of a boozy smell, adhering to the following home remedies will help make a significant difference.
- Use Mouthwash
Dentists are used to the saying: Floss, Brush, and Irrigate (FBI). The most important part at this point is the irrigation. Let's assume you flossed and brushed your teeth; you will need to irrigate.
You can use a mouthwash from reputable brands like Colgate or Listerine. What is most important is to ensure that the mouth is rinsed for 20 seconds. Doing this will help you to get rid of that alcoholic odor and leave behind a desirable and clean scent. This will also help with cleaning your mouth to eliminate bacteria and prevent it from continuing to grow.
Make sure to use an alcohol-free mouthwash, such as the one below.
- Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth with toothpaste can help reduce the smell of alcohol. At the same time, just like with mouthwash, it disturbs all the bad bacteria and flushes it out. Your mouth will be clean and refreshed. Make sure to brush your teeth before going to bed after a full night to avoid waking up with an unpleasant taste on your tongue. As a bonus, having clean teeth accompanied by a crisp smell and taste can give you more self-confidence and self-assurance. Toothpastes with scents such as mint or cinnamon will soothe you and anyone who catches a pleasurable whiff.
- Take a Shower or a Bath
Alcohol is absorbed into your lungs which is why you produce an odor from your breath. Your pores also produce an alcoholic scent that can make your body stink.
If your body reeks of alcohol, taking a nice bath or shower will help clean your pores of alcohol and the sweat you build up while drinking. Make sure you soap up to cover up any lingering scent and leave you smelling and feeling fresh and clean. As an extra measure, after the shower use a scented lotion and spritz yourself with perfume or cologne to really cover up any hint of a fun-filled night. Just be smart and make sure you’re stable enough not to slip and hurt yourself in the shower or bath.
Chewing gum can also be useful, but not the best solution. Gum can only override the smell of alcohol for a short while. The flavor of gum quickly diminishes. On the plus side, it does kill some bacteria, and chewing gum helps produce saliva which does clean and wet the mouth. Seeing someone chew gum is also an indication to everyone around you that you have bad breath and you’re trying to hide it. It’s not the most discreet method.
- Breath Mints
While gum and breath mints aren’t the most effective or long-lasting solutions to turning your mouth from an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day to a field of daisies, they are a quick and easy fix when you’re pressed for time. You can easily keep a packet of gum or a tin of breath mints in your pocket in case of immediate emergency. Remember, they are only a momentary fix.
- Onion and Garlic
Both onion and garlic produce a powerful smell that radiates from your pores and mouth. You may not want to kiss someone afterwards, but because these smells are also excreted through your pores they combat one strong odor with another. If you are comfortable with the smell of garlic and onion, you might want to use raw garlic or onion as a remedy. This is not a perfect alternative, but it can help control the odor generated by alcohol.
Garlic can mask the smell of alcohol. If you are not allergic to garlic, you can chew 1 or 2 cloves with a glass of water. Alternatively, you can prepare a meal using garlic. Meals like dip, spread, or soup will go a long way.
Like garlic, you can use onion to mask the smell of alcohol. It is recommended to use red onions since they tend to smell stronger. Start by preparing a burger, sandwich, or salad with red onions.
Since onions have a strong smell, you should brush your teeth thoroughly after the meal to reduce its poignancy.
The extreme smell from coffee can override the smell of alcohol. We encounter this method several times of using a strong taste, and one that enters the bloodstream quickly, to override the equally strong taste of alcohol. Drinking black coffee with no sugar or milk gives you the best results within seconds. It is recommended to swish the coffee around your mouth before swallowing.
Coffee is a stimulant where alcohol is a depressant and drinking a cup of coffee will make you feel more alert and energized. Remember that coffee is a mild diuretic, like alcohol, which means it may make you have to urinate more than if you consumed the same amount of water. If you drink a cup of joe to mask your dragon’s breath, make sure to follow it up with a glass of water to replace any fluids lost.
- Peanut Butter
If you enjoy sweet and creamy peanut butter, then you can use peanut butter to mask the smell that is generated from alcohol. The peanut oil produces a pleasant and stronger smell that overshadows the smell of alcohol.
Lemon is yet another useful organic remedy you can use to mask alcoholic odors. It contains citrus compounds. These compounds help to reduce the accumulated toxins and the smell of alcohol. The acidity will help cleanse your mouth of germs and flush out your system.
Squeezing a lemon into your water can also help with nausea and make your body more alkaline so the process of metabolizing the alcohol in your system will go much smoother and be less taxing on your body.
Aromatic herbs like parsley can be used to get rid of alcohol breath. Parsley has antibacterial and deodorizing properties that help eliminate the stench of spirits from your mouth and stomach.
An easy method is to simply eat straight parsley or coriander leaves, or you could cook them up in a dish such as a stir fry or chop it up fresh to garnish a dish with.
The yellow mustard found in your fridge, or a bar, or a restaurant is a perfect remedy to stave off alcohol breath. This spicy condiment has a sharp smell, which can mask the smell of beer or spirits.
It may not be preferable to swallow a spoonful of mustard, so a good recommendation is to put it on a hot dog. The strong smell and taste of the cooked meat will overpower the scent coming from your mouth. Cured red meats such as salami or pepperoni will have a similar effect.
- Tomato Juice
Tomato juice is known for its ability to mask the smell of skunk spray. Since it can help eliminate such a vile and overpowering stink, you can be assured that the juice is highly effective at masking alcohol's odor.
No one wants to bathe in tomato juice, and it may be a little extreme, but is still an option, just don’t go crazy. Don’t worry, a much easier solution is to make a dish with tomatoes, such as a soup, or drink straight tomato juice. It’s no wonder Bloody Mary’s are a breakfast booze staple. Some Bloody Mary’s also contain ingredients such as horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, both intense flavors with strong scents.
- Drink a Lot of Water
This piece of advice never gets old. We all know how important it is to drink enough water. Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration and once the mouth is dry, it begins to harbor more bacteria, which intensifies bad odors. Sipping water when drinking alcohol will help you stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage you consume.
Once you are done drinking, do not forget to continue drinking water as doing this will reduce the intensity of a hangover and bad breath.
- Cinnamon Sticks
Cinnamon sticks are yet another effective natural remedy for bad breath. Cinnamon contains essential oils with antibiotic effects which can help reduce bacteria in the mouth. Cinnamon also has a lovely scent that can cover bad breath that results from alcohol. Cinnamon is great brewed in tea.
- Use Perfume, Cologne or Deodorants
You can use cologne or perfume on a specific body part to mask the smell of alcohol. While it doesn’t fix the scent of your breath, perfumes and colognes can mask an unpleasant smell. Use your favorite scent and dab or spray once or twice on either of the following places:
o Both wrists
o The sides of your neck
o Your chest or between your breasts
o Below your belly button
A good idea is to have a rollerball or a small refillable travel spray in your pocket for a quick burst of freshness.
Whatever your reason for needing to cover up your alcohol breath, the tips and tricks listed above can be used anytime and anywhere to help you mask the smell. Remember to stay safe and know your limits as this will save you the stress of maintaining a fresh breath after hours of alcohol consumption. Enjoy your drinks, raise a glass, and stay fresh.