Is it rude to suck on a mint during Mass?

Okay, so I kinda get worried if my breath smells, so I like to suck on a few little Altoids. Is this rude?

I am pretty sure this breaks the 1 hour fast.

Rude? Probably not. However, it would break the fast so you wouldn’t be able to receive communion.

If your breath stinks :wink: or you have a sore or dry throat, no problemo. There are better times to quaff a mint, though.

As far as breaking the pre-Eucharist fast, I think it’s a bit over the top to suggest that a mint does so, but that’s a different discussion, what constitutes the “fast”. That being said, brushing your teeth or Listerine before mass should take of it, or waiting until after your reception of the Eucharist would be far more appropriate.

Rude? Probably not. Respectful towards what you’re about to receive? Probably not.

As long as you don’t plan on receiving Holy Communion within an hour of doing so.

A mint is a food stuff, is it not. The rules for the Eucharistic fast says only water or medicines. If the mint is to help a sore throat, then yes that is OK, but bad breath, that is a stretch.

It would break the hour fast.

Can. 919 §1 Whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine.

I’d agree, that is a stretch.

Besides who is going to smell your breath during Mass, you are not talking to anyone. Pop in the mint when Mass is over.

Peace be with you-ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.


As noted, it breaks the Eucharistic fast. On top of this, since the presumption is that essentially everyone else is fasting, it is only polite to avoid any obvious consumption in front of them, even if you’re not fasting yourself. Plus, this is a solemn and sacred place, inside and outside of Mass. No gum chewing in church!

Having said that, this kind of thing is allowed for those not fasting, if they are discrete about it. Rustling wrappers in church, for instance, is not polite. OTOH, it is better to discretely slip yourself a cough drop than to hack and wheeze through the whole Mass. If one has a severe case of halitosis, I suppose it is possible that this applies to breath mints, although that would be a stretch for most of us. Normally, a mint before Mass starts would suffice. (Let’s hope that we don’t have a literal Kiss of Peace, after all! :D)

Whatever you do, though, do not leave any consumables or wrappers behind for someone else to clean up, particularly not sticky ones. That is really rude. Did that go without saying? I clean church; I wish it did.

I usually chew gum for minty freshness of breath before mass. I chew it on the way to mass which works well for me as my parish is 45 minutes away. Maybe you could have an altoid or two while getting ready or something - long enough before mass no to break the hour fast. I guess it’s better than nothing.


You can brush your teeth before Mass. If your breath gets so bad during Mass, you probably have some dental problems that need to be taken care of. Eating mints, unless you’re doing it because you’re diabetic and need to raise your blood sugar, breaks the one-hour Eucharistic fast. You should not receive communion when you break the fast.

I remembered seeing a question about gum in Ask and Apologist, and searched for it. It mentions mints too.

I’m afraid I don’t know how to attach it “here” the way other people do. This is the only way I can do it without just pasting the whole thing.

Remember that like all of us the Apologists can give their opinions, but are not infallible in their answers.

I agree. It is a question of the definition of food. I would say anthing that you eat is food. Gum chewing certainly does break the fast, even though you do not swallow gum (or maybe some do) I hate it when people come up for communion chewing gum. One priest I know actually refused to give the person communion. There was a time when even drinking water broke the fast. Now we see people at mass with water bottles.

All else aside, yes it is rude.

You are going to make noise as you rattle container and paper, that is rude.

Why would you be in close proximity to another during Mass anyway to worry about fresh breath? Taking the “kiss of peace” a bit too far maybe??

If you cannot go one hour without a mint - see your doctor, you likely have a health issue.

Candy is a food, a cough drop if necessary for a cough would not be.

I thought it was just appropriate for Cantors to drink water at Mass. I also wandered this because there is this one who always has a bottle with her.

At the risk of widening this question but still retaining the “rude” element…just before Mass this morning and lady was combing her hair…what is the view of self grooming in the body of the church?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit