Holiday parties, family reunions, New Year’s Eve midnight toasts – each of these events provides the perfect opportunity for a cocktail or two. Responsible adult alcohol consumption is part of the season’s festive activities. But the resultant bad breath is not so festive! So, why does liquor linger?

Most of us can smell that someone has been drinking, but sometimes the odor lasts for a long time, giving way to “morning breath” or even “day after breath” – but why?

In the first place, whether you think you can smell it or not, most drinks have their own scent anyway. Even vodka, which seems to be the one that is the least “noseworthy”, comes from fermented potatoes and does have an odor. And many cocktails are mixed with odiferous substances, such as juices or colas.

Then there is the fact that the body recognizes liquor as a toxin. When alcohol is consumed, it isn’t digested like most other foods, but, rather absorbed and processed quickly by the liver. And what goes through the liver moves into the blood and the lungs and….the lungs are the breath machines of the body. If the liver does not have the time to process the alcohol slowly because there is too much being consumed in a short period of time, the result is more toxin sitting in the blood and lungs pending processing.

This is why, for example, a breathalyzer test can determine the amount of alcohol in the system because it registers unprocessed alcohol being emitted by the lungs.

Despite what many of us may think, no amount of gum or mints will completely cover up the smell of alcohol while the body is processing it, nor will the candy fool a breathalyzer!

But wait, then why does the breath still smell bad the next day, after the cocktails are completely metabolized?

Don’t forget – alcohol dries the mouth, causing halitosis-creating bacteria to grow.  Of course, that is where good oral hygiene comes in to the picture. Wake up, brush your teeth, use your TUNG Brush and Gel and carry on with the day’s activities.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, filled with good cheer, laughter, family, friends and fun. And, if, for some of you, that cheer does  include a spiced eggnog or two, please drink responsibly and stay safe. Remember, the nose knows!