Sometimes it’s tempting to hold your breath when you have severe halitosis, but how long can you reasonably expect to hold it? The New Zealand Herald reported that William Trubridge, a world record-holding free-diver, recently became the first human to dive to 100 meters, or 328 feet, on one breath of air, without assistance. Even professionals like Trubridge can’t hold back bad breath forever.
According to the International Society for the Development of Free-Diving, the record for static apnea, or lying still and holding your breath, is 11 minutes and 35 seconds. But even the act of holding your breath may cause further bad breath.
Before and particularly after holding the breath - say, in a crowded train car - you may take long, rapid breaths, forcing air back and forth over the tongue and palate. This air can dry out your mouth, leaving an environment that allows oral bacteria to multiply and give of a rancid odor.
Even holding your breath in your sleep can exacerbate halitosis. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which the throat involuntary closes, can cause snoring and mouth breathing. People with OSA may awaken with powerful morning breath due to fitful breathing that parches the tongue and throat.
Awake or asleep, holding your breath is not the ideal way to cover up your halitosis. Instead, consider scraping your tongue, brushing your teeth twice daily and rinsing your mouth with specialty breath fresheners that moisten the palate and eliminate bad breath.