If you're over 21, having a casual glass of wine at dinner or sharing a beer your friends can be a relaxing way to unwind for some. It should be consumed safely, of course, because alcohol can mess with your inhibitions, judgment and balance, making it not safe for you and those around you. But there is one side effect of alcohol that you may not have noticed, even if you've only had one drink; stale alcohol breath. So how should you freshen your breath after a drink?
As an article published in 2013 in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine points out, volatile molecules in the mouth lead to halitosis, also known as bad breath. Alcohol is one of those volatile molecules and can really stink up your breath. So if you've had a vodka soda or a glass of Chardonnay and you want to know how to freshen your breath, here's what you can do.
Drink More Water
When you drink alcohol, you're drying out your mouth, as alcohol has a diuretic effect. Although the effect is stronger the more you drink, even a single drink can make you a bit dehydrated. The drier your mouth is, the better the environment for odor-causing bacteria. Drinking water when you are enjoying an alcoholic beverage will help you stay hydrated and avoid a dry mouth. You can alternate sips of water with your drink or enjoy a full glass of water after your alcoholic beverage.
Chew Some Gum
If you want to control your alcohol breath, one of the quickest ways to do so is by chewing sugar-free gum. When you chew gum after eating or drinking, you stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth, as the American Dental Association notes. The boost in saliva helps to rinse away acids and bacteria and any odor-causing properties they might have. Plus, most chewing gums have a strong scent and flavor, which can cover up the smell of alcohol.
Keep the Smell Away
Water and gum are two temporary measures you can take to improve your breath's smell after drinking. Good oral care and hygiene are essential for keeping your breath smelling fresh for as long as possible. Brush twice a day and floss daily to keep plaque and bacteria from building up on your teeth and gums. To freshen your breath for an extended period of time and to avoid the dryness associated with mouthwashes that contain alcohol, choose an option that's alcohol-free, such as Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield mouthwash, which freshens breath.
One Last Thing
You probably have a lot of reasons why you want to cover up alcohol breath. For example, you might be on a date and don't want your partner to smell the wine you drank when you lean in for a goodnight kiss. Or, you don't want to offend your buddies when you enjoy a few beers together. But, it's important to remember that covering up the smell of alcohol isn't the same as getting it out of your system. Remember to drink responsibly and not drive after drinking. You might have minty fresh breath, but if you drink and drive, the minty scent won't make you good to drive or help you pass a breath test. There's only one thing that completely gets rid of alcohol's effects, and that's time.