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Excessive drinking can lead to an unpleasant smell originating from the stomach. As your body metabolizes alcohol, acetic acid is released through the respiratory system and sweat.
Bad breath is merely a side effect of your body processing alcohol.
Keep in mind: Sometimes, bad breath is mistaken as being caused by alcohol when a condition like diabetes is to blame. Dismissing bad breath can mean overlooking symptoms of another condition that could be serious.
There is no real way to get rid of alcohol breath. Fortunately, there are some methods that can cover up the smell.
Some tips are effective, while others are myths:
The odor caused by drinking alcohol doesn't come from the mouth. It comes from your lungs, where alcohol in the blood enters the air you exhale. This is how breathalyzers detect blood alcohol levels.
Using peppermint chewing gum, floss, mainline mints, or mouthwash may cover the smell of alcohol breath temporarily. But the effects won't last.
While you cannot replace the smell of alcohol with a fresh smell, you can consume something equally as potent to cover up the odor of alcohol breath.
Try eating foods with a strong smell, such as garlic, fish, or blue cheese.
Many cultures finish a meal with a herbal chew to perfume away unpleasant breath. Mukhwas in India, for example, freshens the breath with ingredients like anise, fennel, and coconut.
These breath perfumes and mouth fresheners are unlikely to keep your breath fresh for long.
Alcohol breath doesn't live in your mouth, but bacteria do. Bacteria thrive in your mouth after alcohol consumption. Brush your teeth with toothpaste to scrub off the bacteria and reduce bad breath.
Be sure to brush your teeth, tongue, and the roof of your mouth.
Some people believe that drinking neutral-smelling alcohols like vodka or herbal digestifs won't cause unpleasant smells from digestive breakdown. But all alcoholic beverages create a similar unpleasant booze breath, no matter the smell of the drink.
You can't speed up the hourly rate at which your liver metabolizes alcohol. But you can help your body process the alcohol more efficiently by staying on top of your wellness.
Be sure to consume a healthy diet, stay active, and drink plenty of water. The more you help your liver stay healthy, the more it will help you.
As some alcohol leaves the body via the skin pores, a noticeable odor while sweating can occur.
Here are some ways to make this odor less noticeable:
The presence of alcohol in your breath depends on how much you have consumed and other biological factors.
The typical rate of alcohol elimination is one unit per hour. At this rate, traces of alcohol disappear in relation to the amount of alcohol you consume.
If you consumed one large glass of wine, it would usually take your body three hours to eliminate any alcohol it has absorbed. During those three hours, your breath may smell of alcohol.
Prevention is always going to be better than the cure.
If you want to consume alcohol without your breath smelling, consider:
If someone regularly smells like alcohol, it could be a sign they're suffering from alcoholism.
Some people experience periods when they drink alcohol heavily but manage to reduce their intake before developing a physical addiction. Others progress to alcoholism and develop physical and psychological addictions.
Some people with alcohol problems try their best to disguise their drinking. In many cases, people suffering from alcoholism are unaware they may smell like alcohol.
Confronting someone with concerns about their alcohol odors and potential addiction can lead to denial, but it can also encourage them to seek help.
There are many treatment options available for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction, including:
Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center.
These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care. You'll live in safe, substance-free housing and have access to professional medical monitoring.
The first step of an inpatient program is detoxification. Then behavioral therapy and other services are introduced. These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer.
Most programs help set up your aftercare once you complete the inpatient portion of your treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide similar services to inpatient programs.
However, in a PHP program, you return home to sleep. Some services provide food and transportation, but services vary by program.
PHPs accept new patients and people who have completed an inpatient program and require additional intensive treatment.
Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization programs. They are best for people who have a high motivation to recover but cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school.
These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule. The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment.
Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program. It is important for people undergoing treatment to have a stable and supportive home environment without access to drugs and alcohol.
Sometimes medications may be used in alcohol addiction treatment. These medicines can help reduce the negative side effects of detoxification and withdrawal. Others can help you reduce cravings and normalize body functions.
When combined with other evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.
They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober. Support groups can be the first step towards recovery or part of a long-term aftercare plan.
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