We have all done it. Cupped our hand from our mouth to our nostrils and huffed out. Then breathed in deep. And thought “Is it bad? Can I tell if it is bad? What if I can’t tell!” The anxiety of the possibility of bad breath is just too much, and we cannot resist the temptation to see four ourselves if, indeed, we have bad breath! But does this method work? Can we smell our own bad breath? Well, our nose is connected to our mouth, so probably not with this method. We filter it out! We are so kind to our own nose! Isn’t that special?
I think we all remember one teacher from grade school with the condition. They used to get right up close and personal, then whisper something discreetly. Man, a kid could just pass out from that blast of bad breath sent in our direction! Have we forgotten the juvenile nicknames for teachers possessing this affliction? Who can forget the 5th grade social studies teacher “Horse breath Hoffman” (my apologies to all horse lovers to whom this unfortunate nickname might offend). As a mother, I know that I have been guilty of bad breath too. Driving carpool in the morning is not glamorous. I am certain that helping a kid get buckled in after a nights sleep, a cup of coffee, and no time to get a toothbrush in my mouth had to just about make my kids eyes roll into the back of their head! I guess none of us can escape bad breath every now and again.
Bad breath has a medical name. It’s halitosis. The word is as unpleasant as the condition. What causes it? Is it chronic? Bad breath has many causes that range from offensive food to poor dental care. Eating strong foods such as garlic and blue cheese can contribute to bad breath. Bacteria growing on the back of the tongue is also a major cause for halitosis. So is dehydration. It is a fairly common problem and can be chronic, meaning it is constantly present. Luckily it is preventable.
Good oral care helps rid our mouth of offensive breath. Brush and floss often. And don’t forget to brush your tongue too, all the way to the back of the tongue. Yes, your gag reflex may kick in, but try to do it anyway! Bacteria grows in our mouth, and good oral hygiene can get rid of halitosis causing bacteria. Chewing gum can also help get rid of bad breath, in part because it stimulates saliva production. Drinking more water and staying properly hydrated can also help prevent or get rid of halitosis. The dentist is another great resource for helping get rid of bad breath.
So back to determining if we can smell our own bad breath. We may not be able to do it by cupping our hand from our mouth to our nostril, but there may be another way. Lick your wrist. Wait a few seconds. Smell it. That may be a good indication of what your breath smells like. So enjoy your garlic and blue cheese, drink some water, and lick the back of your hand! Then sniffffffff!