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  • Drinking alcohol is linked to bad breath. Alcohol’s reputation of making your breath smell bad is big enough to the point it has earned names like “booze breath,” “beer breath,” and “alcohol breath.”

    There are many quick, convenient ways to get rid of alcohol breath, but they will not get rid of other effects of alcohol or lower your blood alcohol levels. Alcohol can also change the types of bacteria in your mouth, which is linked to some health risks.

    How Alcohol Causes Bad Breath

    Bad breath has many causes, but alcohol consumption can cause it in a handful of ways. 

    The main ingredient in alcohol, ethanol, can change the types of bacteria in your mouth. Millions of bacteria normally live in your mouth, but certain types of it on your teeth and tongue can cause bad breath.

    When you drink alcohol, its main ingredient ethanol can end up in your lungs, which controls airflow in and out of your body. Alcohol vapor is constantly recycled when you breathe in and out.

    The type of alcohol you drink can also affect how bad your breath is. Ethanol can cause bad breath on its own, but other ingredients in popular drinks like beer or wine can also lead to bad breath. These drinks have a chance of staining your teeth and leaving bacteria on them.

    Tips For Getting Rid Of Alcohol Breath

    Many ways to get rid of alcohol breath do not take long. If you are not heavily impaired, taking a couple of minutes to take care of your breath can improve a night out drinking.

    Brush Your Teeth

    Brushing your teeth is an effective way to kill bacteria that causes bad breath and keep your mouth clean. Using fluoride toothpaste can be even more effective in fighting the effects of alcohol on your mouth.

    Using mouthwash and floss can help kill bacteria that has built up after drinking alcohol in places that are hard to reach, like your gums and tongue.

    Chew Gum

    Chewing gum is a common way to help with bad breath, including breath that smells like alcohol you just drank.

    Minty gum flavors like peppermint tend to have sharp, clean smells. Chewing gum can also remove other factors that cause bad breath, like pieces of food in your mouth.

    Drinking Water

    Having too many alcoholic drinks can lead to dehydration and dry mouth, which can both cause bad breath. Drinking water can help you stay hydrated and avoid dehydration and bad breath.

    Staying hydrated can also help you avoid a hangover the next day, a condition that is linked to acid reflux and bad breath.

    Covering Up The Smell

    If you do not have access to toothpaste or chewing gum, you may try to cover up the smell of alcohol in other ways. Strong smells like deodorant, menthol cough drops, and body lotion can cover up the smell of alcohol.

    These methods of getting rid of or hiding alcohol breath can be useful on a night out with friends, but you will still feel the effects.

    Concerns For Getting Rid Of Alcohol Breath

    While brushing your teeth or chewing gum can help your breath not smell like alcohol, it won’t stop alcohol use from being picked up on a breath test. 


    If you have some alcoholic beverages before driving and get pulled over at a traffic stop, breath mints or deodorant will not stop you from failing a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer can still detect your blood alcohol level since alcohol ends up in your lungs.


    Heavy drinking can change the types of bacteria in your mouth, but some types of bacteria are linked to more than just bad breath. Heavy drinking is linked to types of bacteria that help with acetaldehyde production. Acetaldehyde is a product of ethanol that is known to cause cancer.

    Treating Alcohol Abuse

    Alcohol breath is an inconvenient health problem caused by drinking alcohol. Alcohol is also linked to a number of other health problems, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, and mental health problems.

    If you find it hard to control your alcohol intake, you may feel like alcohol is doing more harm than good in your life. Finding a treatment program that can help you look at other options than alcohol may be good for your health in the long term.

    To find an alcohol abuse treatment program that works for you, please contact our helpline today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on August 17, 2022
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