Sunday, May 26 2024 - 1:07 AM
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Bad Breath

Even your best friends won’t tell you … but my daughter finally did. Bless her heart. We’d driven nearly 3,000 miles together, but it wasn’t until the last few miles when she got up the nerve. I was mortified.

“You mean it just smells today?” I asked.

“No. Actually, the whole trip,” she said. “I hate telling you, Ma, but figured I was the only one who would.”

And she was right. Although it was painful to hear, I was glad that a family member leveled with me. All I could think about was the number of people who had recently begun offering me gum and breath mints, and I was so embarrassed. As tough as it is to hear that you smell, it’s more embarrassing to go around clueless and alienating people with your halitosis. The internet lists some interesting ways in which people have used to tell friends and family they stink.

Ways to Tell Someone They “Stink”

1. Just go up to them or near them and say, “Wow, something smells like garlic. Is it you?” By saying that, you are not directly saying your breath is horrible, but at the same time, you’re sending a message.

2. Leave an anonymous note—this is easier if it’s a co-worker.

3. Send an email. It’s a lot easier to get a message across that is unflattering without having face-to-face contact.

4. Anonymously leave a bad breath kit consisting of a tooth brush, floss, and alcohol-free mouthwash.

5.Some online services such as allow you to pay a small fee to send an anonymous message to someone letting them know that they have bad breath. A free service is

Whichever way you choose to inform someone in your family that they have bad breath, be respectful and understanding.

Bad breath affects all of us—even you. Here are some things we can all do to eradicate it.

Ways to Eradicate Bad Breath

1. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, because your tongue is like a shaggy carpet and collects tiny food particles and bacteria, get in the habit of regularly cleaning your tongue using a toothbrush, the edge of a spoon, or tongue cleaner. Try brushing with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide—especially on your shaggy carpet tongue.

2. Chew gum. Chewing gum, especially gum with xylitol, will stimulate saliva production. The more saliva you have in your mouth, the fewer bacteria you have. Mints don’t accomplish this and only mask the odor.

3. Drink more water—even if you’re not thirsty. Water will help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum.

4. Check your diet. If you’re on a low-carb diet, remember that “ketone breath” is a potential side effect. Adding a few carbs to your daily diet might help.

5. If bad breath persists, see your dentist. On rare occasions, bad breath can signal a larger problem, including infection, and even kidney or liver failure.

If you liked this, you might also like Attention Please | What You Can Do About Bad Breath

Dee Litten Whited writes from Virginia.

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About Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

writes from Virginia.

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