You May Have Bad Breath and Not Even Know It

How is your breath? Do other people find it offensive? If so, you may never know.

Bad breath is one of those personal hygiene issues that other people don’t like to talk about. Do you tell people when they have bad breath? Or do you simply avoid them? The way you respond is likely the way other people react to your own bad breath.

The Halitosis Problem

People suffering from halitosis, which is the clinical name for bad breath, often aren’t aware of it. That’s because they have become so accustomed to the taste of their own breath that the simply think it is normal.

Unfortunately, other people don’t have the same reaction. They may be repulsed by the strong, offensive odor that your breath has. But because they are polite and observe social niceties, most are unlikely to say anything to you about your breath. Instead, they are more likely to turn away from you in the short term and avoid you altogether in the long term.

The Self-Test

Similarly, the self-test for bad breath — breathing into your hand and then smelling it — doesn’t actually work. Your exhalations are composed of gasses that won’t stick to your hand but instead are dispersed into the air around it. So you probably won’t smell anything but your hand when you use the common self-test for bad breath.

Instead, the only sure-fire test for bad breath is asking somebody else to smell your breath and let you know if it is offensive. While this may be embarrassing and is potentially asking a lot of the other person, it will definitively give you the answer you are looking for — as long as the other person is honest and doesn’t mind hurting your feelings by telling you the truth.

Another solution is to avoid bad breath altogether by brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing regularly, using mouthwash on a daily basis, and visiting your dentist at least twice annually.