Smokeless tobacco use is on the rise due to anti-smoking campaigns and the relatively low cost of smokeless tobacco, the Los Angeles Times recently reported. Using such products may virtually ensure the presence of bad breath.
Smokeless tobacco users typically place products like chewing tobacco, snus and lozenges between the cheek or lip. Once there, the packet of tobacco and additives begins to either dissolve or to steep in the mouth’s saliva, forming a mixture of tobacco particles and nicotine that coats the tongue, giving oral bacteria food for grow and odor creation.
After dipping or chewing a smokeless tobacco product, the mouth becomes drier as a side effect. Once dry, the palate becomes an even more fertile environment for anaerobic bacteria, which are normally cleaned away by saliva. These bacteria create volatile sulfur compounds that leave the mouth smelling rotten or sour.
Finally, smokeless tobacco can cause serious oral diseases whose symptoms include halitosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration affixes warning labels on all smokeless tobacco products, which contain messages like “WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer” and “This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.” A hallmark of both diseases is bad breath. Mouth cancer can additionally be very dangerous, even deadly.
To prevent bad breath associated with smokeless tobacco, avoiding it is a good start. To eliminate halitosis once it occurs, individuals may consider rinsing the mouth with any moistening breath freshening product that neutralizes odor.