|By Dr. Harold Katz - Bad Breath Expert|
SUMMARY: Here's a breakdown of alcohol breath, something that Justin Bieber found out the hard way.
Posted: January 23, 2014
Alcohol breath can affect all of us, and celebrities, though often placed on a pedestal of perfection, are not immune. This time, Beliebers' faith has been put in question: On Jan. 22, pop star Justin Bieber was arrested on drunk driving charges.
"When he opened up the window and confronted Mr. Bieber, he smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverage," Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez told CNN.
The bad breath was the least of Bieber's worries. The singer had a rough 2013, and this marks the first of the speed bumps for the New Year. Alcohol may worsen a lot of things, an odor is only one of them. Alcohol breath, among behavioral changes, can signal that you or a friend should not drive - though the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are getting behind the wheel.
What happens to your breath when you drink?
Since alcohol tends to produce an odor, be it whiskey, beer or vodka, it lingers around on one's breath long after consumption. The same holds true for coffee and soda. However, when alcohol enters your body, it isn't digested like most substances. It is seen as a toxin, and is thus sent to the liver, which metabolizes the alcohol. The liver works at about a "drink an hour" pace - hence the long-standing recommended amount to drink.
Alcohol circulates in the bloodstream, ultimately arriving at the lungs - this is the sources of alcohol breath. Because the odor comes from the lungs and not the mouth, it hangs around for a long period of time. With that being said, alcohol, as a drying agent, indeed causes bad breath in the mouth as well, slowing down saliva production and leaving a breeding ground for smelly anaerobic bacteria.
To return to the lungs, just as carbon dioxide evaporates from the blood into the breath, so does a small portion of any alcohol that's present. This process is called the gaseous exchanges. Of course, the actual quantity of alcohol that evaporates into the breath depends on its concentration in the blood. As a result, the more one drinks, the stronger the stench.
The only surefire cure for alcohol breath coming from the lungs is time. And that's what we'll have to give the Bieber story. As Bieber fans, we hope this is his last run-in with the law as well as halitosis.