I once took a class in Argentine Tango, which was set up so that men and women constantly exchanged partners while learning the stylized steps. That was okay, but there was one guy who had zero rhythm, and three minutes of trying to tango with him (counting to himself and still failing his steps miserably) was like a stumbling, cursing lifetime. But dancing with that poor klutz (I’m no Pavlova, by the way) was nothing compared to the man whose breath was so bad, I had to fight to hold my own breath or simply go mad.
In the few steps where we turned away from each other, I had to gasp for a fresh breath of air, then turn for the next hellish step into the miasma. I felt bad for the man at first: clearly , taking a tango class was not going to make him popular with women as long as he could not get rid of his bad breath. But soon, I started to hate him: how could he not know the effect his breath had on others? Why would not he chew a mint, for crying out loud?
It was so bad that I actually considered telling him, a total stranger, that he should chew gum so I could bear to dance with him. I didn’t have to go that far, though, because in the end, I met a lovely, sexy, middle-aged psychologist who was not only a fine and graceful dancer, but who smelled nice and liked to dance with me. He managed to show up in front of me more and more often in the partner exchanges, and soon, I hardly danced with anyone else.
Not sure how unfresh your breath really is?
Learn how you can tell if you have bad breath on the spot.
We all know that huffing your breath into your cupped hand and taking a deep breath is no real indicator of how bad your breath really smells. It has been proven that it is scientifically impossible for you to “smell” your own halitosis. Our bodies prevent us from smelling our own odors, so that we have the proper senses to smell our surroundings (i.e. danger, food, etc.).If you don’t have another person around that you feel comfortable asking to check your breath (perhaps because you are on a first date . . .), then try this new smelly breath sensing product. The Bad Breath Detective test strips from Therabreath read the amount of sulfur in your saliva, which will indicate the level of halitosis you have. These testing strips are small enough to fit into your purse for emergencies like a date or important business meeting.
If you are still interested in learning more about the causes and treatments for halitosis, download this free health guide The Bath Breath Bible.
I brush my teeth about five times a day, and chew gum too. I good swish of mouthwash can be quite refreshing after a garlic filled dinner as well. But there have been times when forays into Vietnamese cooking or beer-and-pizza-with-the-guys has left my mouth less than fresh, which is why I carry gum in my purse for emergencies. This is a quick, temporary solution to curing lunchtime bad breath. While some people swear by breath mints, I’ve found that they don’t do much for eliminating your breath once they’re gone.
If you don’t want to get into any serious breath medications, there simpler more natural products available. For super-halitosis emergencies, you can use Breath Assure, which is nothing more than capsules of parsley oil. You don’t chew them (I tried it once and was rewarded with a strong, sweet, oily taste that made me look like my friends’ cat the day we tried to give him Benadryl to reduce the swelling from a spider bite. The vet didn’t specify the type, just the dosage, and the liquid baby-dose Benadryl made him foam at the mouth for two hours. It was extremely unnerving.) The parsley oil works wonders, eliminating garlic breath and sweetening the breath for hours. Maybe that’s why Greek, Turkish and Arabic cuisines combine parsley with lemon and garlic for relishes, salads and sauces.
If you are on a date and in a pinch with absolutely no breath prevention methods on hand, try eating the parley sprig most restaurants place of their plates as decoration. It’s free, easily available, and it works! Just be discreet so your date doesn’t catch on to your halitosis worries.
Bad breath that comes from food is easily finished off by brushing your teeth, scraping your tongue, flossing, gum chewing or the aforementioned Breath Assure, but chronic bad breath can be a symptom of other problems health problems such as tooth decay, sinus infection, gum disease, or stomach problems. Eating disorders can also create halitosis from the stomach acids churned up by hunger or by vomiting. If you (or the guy in your tango class) experience chronic bad breath, the first thing to do is get to your dentist for a checkup. After ruling out possible dental care issues, your dentist may recommend a visit to the doctor to rule out other illnesses.
Old mouthwashes contained alcohol and mint flavorings. New mouthwashes include zinc and chlorine dioxide. Zinc stops the process that creates the sulfur compounds in the mouth, which are largely responsible for causing bad breath. Chlorine dioxide kills the sulfur that’s already present. You may decide to add mouthwash to your regular hygiene program whether or not you have other health issues that need to be resolved in order to stop chronic halitosis for good.