Whether you're alone or stuck next to someone else on a long elevator ride, halitosis can be tough to take. Enclosed spaces naturally encourage the nose to detect bad breath, since very little air is being recirculated.
In 1999, Nick White had just gone outside for a cigarette break when his elevator, which was an express to the 43rd floor, got stuck. He was alone, the New Yorker reports. White worked in the McGraw-Hill Building, and it was a Friday night. The news source says that no one came to his rescue until 41 hours later.
Staying in an enclosed space, particularly when you are nervous or excited, can make the smell of your breath deteriorate. Anxiety causes the saliva flow in the mouth to dry up, allowing microbes to multiply and emit odors.
Likewise, smoking leaves a foul smell on the tongue. The smoke particles adhere to the palate and can keep the mouth smelly for hours. Smoking may further dry out an already arid mouth.
Even a normal elevator ride can make bad breath readily apparent. While you may have to grin and bear it if your elevator mate has halitosis, the very least you can do is ensure that you don't have bad breath. Chewing a specialty breath freshening gum can help neutralize odor-causing bacteria and moisten the mouth.