How To Get Rid of Alcohol Breath

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Alcohol breath can be seriously embarrassing, especially if you have somewhere to be or someone to impress. And if you’ve ever noticed the looming scent of alcohol on your breath after a night out, you know how difficult it is to get rid of.

Even chewing gum and mints don’t mask the smell for long. But why is that? How long does alcohol breath last, and why is it so hard to get rid of?

Below, we’ll cover how to get rid of alcohol breath, the myths versus the facts surrounding it, and how to prevent it altogether.

Why Is It So Hard To Get Rid of Alcohol Breath?

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Alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and intestines into your bloodstream. While your liver processes most of it, your body also releases a small amount of it through the lungs and into the air. Because of this, eliminating alcohol breath is a bit more complicated than using gum or mints to cover up the scent.

Put simply, alcohol breath is hard to get rid of because it comes from deeper within your body—it’s not your typical bad breath.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Breath?

Every person’s body processes alcohol at different speeds, so it’s hard to know just how long alcohol breath will last. A general rule of thumb is that your body can process one standard drink per hour. But on an individual level, it could be a bit more or less.

One standard drink is equivalent to:

  • One 12 oz. regular beer
  • A 5 oz. glass of wine
  • A 1.5 oz shot of distilled liquor

The more you drink, the longer the scent of alcohol will linger. With that in mind, alcohol breath could last several hours and even as long as an entire day.

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Alcohol Breath Home Remedies

So, what neutralizes alcohol on the breath? Whenever booze is in your body, there’s no way to erase the odor from your breath completely. However, certain home remedies may be able to help.

Below are some tips that can help you freshen up until the alcohol leaves your system.

Brush and Floss Thoroughly

When it comes to how to get rid of alcohol breath fast, brushing and flossing are the best ways to go. Your dental hygiene routine can freshen your breath quickly by eliminating the bacteria in your mouth after a night of drinking, helping reduce the odor.

Use Mouthwash

Thoroughly flush your mouth with mouthwash to give yourself minty-fresh breath. (Think of it as a double layer of protection after brushing and flossing.)

Eat or Drink Something With a Potent Scent

Coffee, garlic, onions, and other smelly foods and drinks may temporarily help with alcohol breath. Of course, these aren’t exactly an ideal solution when you want your breath to be clean and fresh.

But if you’re desperate to smell like anything other than alcohol, potent foods and drinks could work.

The Myths vs. The Facts

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Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of alcohol breath immediately, you’ve probably run into some myths across the web.

Below are some of the common myths around alcohol breath and the truth behind them.

Gum or Mints Will Make the Smell Go Away

Gum may help for a short while, but it won’t kill the bacteria living in your mouth like brushing your teeth will. And it definitely won’t be able to cover the scent of alcohol leaving your lungs.

That’s not to say that gum isn’t helpful—it definitely can be! But when it comes to getting rid of booze breath completely, it won’t give you the lasting freshness you’re looking for.

Neutral Smelling Alcohol Won’t Give You Bad Breath

Even alcohol that claims to be odorless and tasteless will still come out in your breath (yes, even vodka). Aside from that, all types of alcohol can have a diuretic effect, which can cause dehydration. This can result in a dry mouth, where odor-causing bacteria thrive.

How To Prevent Alcohol Breath Entirely

When it comes to fighting off the dragon’s breath, prevention is key. Here are a few tips to help you keep alcohol breath at bay:

  • Drink moderately. Less alcohol means lower concentrations of it in your bloodstream. This way, your body won’t have to push so much of it out through your lungs and breath.
  • Stay hydrated. Plenty of water can help you ward off a dry mouth, reducing your chances of bad breath.
  • Don’t mix different kinds of alcohol. A combination of whiskey, vodka, and beer will likely smell worse than vodka alone.

How To Get Rid of Alcohol Breath: The Takeaway

Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, your body will inevitably release some of it through the lungs. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do much to wipe out the scent until your body finishes processing the alcohol.

Quick remedies like brushing your teeth and using mouthwash can help in a pinch. But if overpowering alcohol breath bothers you often, preventative measures are your best bet to keep the stench away for good.

Want to get better control over your drinking in social situations? Try these tips for keeping party drinking under control.

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Written By:
Alicia Schultz
Alicia is a Minnesota-based freelancer who writes for Ria Health and various other brands in the health and wellness space. Beyond addiction and recovery, she also covers topics relating to general well-being, mindfulness, fitness, mental health, and more. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing with her three-legged cat, trying new workout routines, and spending time with her loved ones.
Reviewed By:
Evan O'Donnell
Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer. Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.
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