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Alcohol and Gingivitis: How Gum Disease Can Affect Can Affect Your DUI Breath Test


Gingivitis, also called “periodontal disease,” can alter a breath testing machine's readings. The way machines like the Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer work is by testing the level of alcohol (or rather, the ethanol the alcohol left behind) on your breath. Contrary to common belief, the breath sample given during a breath test isn't always from a person's deep lungs. In many cases, breath testing machines pick up on other sources, such as gingivitis.

What is gingivitis and how does it affect breath readings?

Gingivitis is a mouth disease that can cause the gums to bleed. People with gingivitis can have small pockets in their gums. These holes can trap particles and substances that you ate and drank throughout the day, such as alcohol. Gingivitis can also result in a small amount of blood being present in a person's breath test, which could raise the blood alcohol reading.

Double Breath Testing

Sometimes, law enforcement will require or allow the DUI suspect to take a second breath test to confirm the original reading. Usually, toxicologists at crime labs will take the two results and average them to come to an official BAC reading. Even if you take a second breath test, this will not necessarily result in a more accurate reading. This is because the “trapped mouth alcohol” will still be present.

Gold & Witham often works with experienced toxicologists to help formulate your defense. Gingivitis, especially severe cases, is a legitimate defense against DUI charges. If you were arrested for drunk driving and you need tough defense, contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer at our firm. We have the proven defense methods that could be your peace of mind!