questionshow do you tell someone they have bad breath?

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It could be a health problem or the result of bad teeth. The may be aware of it and there's nothing they can do about it. Or maybe they just aren't aware. If it's a co-worker or acquaintance, I would start a conversation about hoping my breath isn't bad after having that garlic and anchovy pasta for lunch and see if they volunteer anything. If it is a family member or close friend, I would start with asking them how they are feeling and if they are having any dental problems, and when they ask why, tell them that their breath has been pretty unpleasant lately and I was worried it might be a sign of sickness.

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I like the approach @moondrake suggests. You could also ask them which litterbox they got their lunch from. But that tends not to go over so well.

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I really wish I knew, there a few folks in my office that I need to work closely with i.e. collab at my or their desk. I often offer gum, which I usually have myself to avoid such situations, but they never take it. I'm not close enough with them to really say anything.

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@meh3884: If they don't take it then you need to be more forceful with your hint and say, "No, seriously, take some gum." People are usually, if not happy, then grateful that someone took the time to let them know something is wrong.

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You could do it non-verbally: next time you're near them, take a deep breath, roll your eyes, and vomit! Maybe then they'll get the message!! ;->

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Dude, your breath smells like ass. And I'm not talking about the donkey kind.

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They really should make something like THIS for oral hygiene.

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"Bob, do you know you have bad breath?"

In private, please. Don't trot that out in front of 20 people. Expect answers like "Really? Do you know you're rude?" Once we agree on that it's easy to move on to the health/hygiene/forgetfulness question.

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Perhaps its a regional thing. People are more direct where i'm from, and i was raised to be the same. Direct does not equal being mean (and it's a weak person indeed who would take it as such) - i have very little use for subtle hints (giving or taking) - but again, seems to be a regional thing.

I've had some potent breath after a meal, or during weird medication cocktails that turn your saliva into moss, lol. I never took insult if someone told me matter of factly (although as nvaine says - a simple, private convo is fine - no need to broadcast ;))

Anyone who thinks they're immune - you're not. fact: you've had smelly breath at some point in the past, and either through passivity, missed hints, or whatever - you weren't aware of it, but others were. (cont'd)

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I've been frank with people as well, and no one ever left in a huff... I don't get people who get all sensitive about things like that (food in teeth, breath, stained pants-seat from sitting on something, etc) - if anything you just did me a favor and helped me avoid further embarrassment.

here's a subtle hint: subtle hints are useless and contribute to the pussification of society as a whole. Stop it. Dancing around something actually hurts more feelings than you think it saves.

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I realize i didn't offer a good way of actually telling someone - even a stranger or someone you're not close to. If you're really not comfortable just outright telling them, then be helpful - you're not there to be mean. Bot don't offer. You think you're being polite by offering without telling them, but the polite thing to do as a recipient of an offer is often to decline. now we're stuck in a merry go round of useless social graces and zero action. Instead, lean in and privately say "take this gum, your breath is bad" or "take this mint, your lunch left you with some bad breath" - and say it with a helpful smile. No need to privately sneer at them or find yourself dreading having to be near them.

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@meh3884: If they have bad teeth (which are often the cause of bad breath) gum is not an option. I haven't been able to chew gum since I was a little kid. My adult teeth were early casualties, runs in my family. A mint would probably be more useful for sharing.

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People with truly bad breath aren't always suffering from poor oral hygiene. A lot of other diseases have that as a side effect. For any cause - even oral hygiene - gum and mints don't do much. You just get minty death. Really bad breath is not even close to the same thing is just having eaten garlic for lunch. Dry mouth bad breath from medication can be helped greatly with biotene mouthwash and biotene toothpaste.

That said, most people are completely unaware. And it's going to hurt to find out. But gum disease can cause some serious health problems and maybe the angle of concern could help you. Make sure they know you value being able to talk with them, but that you find it hard to do so.

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help them, Try regularly flushing your sinuses with salt water. Also try gargling with hydrogen peroxide 3%. Don't eat any dairy foods or drink tea or coffee or anything with sugar or alcohol in it. I can tell you Oraltech Labs advice worked for my bad breath and I think I tried most other products on the market. Its not easy as the program has you treating all causes of bad breath just in case your suffering from any one cause and don't know it. I was happy to follow the Oraltech Labs program just to get my life back. www.oraltechlabs.com