There are countless ways to check if you have bad breath, but the way most of us check our breath (by cupping our hands over our mouth and taking a whiff) is the worst possible way to check your breath.

Are We Immune To Our Own Odors?

Your nose has an incredible ability to adapt. While some scientists debate whether or not we are truly “immune” to our own body odors, it is true that after we are exposed to a smell for long enough, we don’t notice it.

Because of this, asking other people to honestly evaluate your breath is the best method for determining the severity of your bad breath.

Fool-Proof Methods, without the embarrassing question: “Do I Stink?”

1. Using a Spoon

Using a spoon, turn it upside down, press it on the very back of your tongue and scrape your tongue.  A white(ish) paste will come off your tongue.  Smell it.   

2. Licking Your Wrist

Another common way to check for bad breath is to lick your wrist, let it dry for a 10 – 20 seconds, and then smell it.

3. Swabbing Your cheeks

A reliable way to check you breath is to use cotton or gauze to swab the back of your tongue and inside your cheeks. Then, smell it.

4. Smelling Dental Floss

This method is about not as reliable as using a spoon, but it’ll give you an indication if something is funky.  Make sure to use unscented dental floss if you check for bad breath this way.

The Best Times to Test

Understand that the time you choose to test your bad breath (if you are recording your results) is important, so that you do not skew your results.

You should try to test your breath about one hour after brushing your teeth… provided you have not eaten anything during that time.

Testing your breath immediately when you wake up is a bad idea, as everyone has some type of morning breath, since saliva production almost grinds to a halt when you sleep. Testing after you eat is a bad idea, as you will smell the odor of the foods you eat – rather than bad breath produced by bacteria in your mouth.

Is It Coming From Your Nose?

Many people believe that bad breath odor comes from their nose. Although this happens in some people (about 5-10% of bad breath sufferers), most people do not emit bad breath odors from their nose.

Since it’s impossible to smell the odor coming out of your own nose, the only way to determine if bad breath is coming from your nose is to ask a trusted friend or family member to tell you.

Sometimes, odors coming from your nose may represent a much more serious problem than halitosis – such as a sinus infection. If you notice any odor coming from your nose (but not from your mouth), you should consult with your physician to ensure it is not a serious health problem.

Are They Covering Their Noses?

Many people tell me they gauge their bad breath, based on how many people around them cover their noses when they’re talking to them.

While there is some reliability to doing this, this method is not perfect. Your results may be inaccurate, if:

  • You stand very close to people when they talk. This makes most people uncomfortable, and any breath – fresh or not – may cause people to back off and/or cover their noses if you stand too close.
  • They have a habit of touching their nose, mouth, and face. Many people touch their faces without even realizing it. If everyone covers their nose when you talk to then, it might be because of your breath, but if you notice that the same one or two people do it every time, it may be a habit of theirs, rather than a reaction to your breath.

Furthermore, when you are conscious about your breath, you are more apt to notice behaviors in people and assume their negative reactions to your bad breath. That’s not always true.

When you gauge your breath, based on other people’s behaviors, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s impossible to determine how severe your bad breath is, unless you test it for yourself. And – the only way you can make improvement is to track your progress and establish objectives and goals for overcoming your bad breath.


Cures For Halitosis

Good dental care can help with bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene. Professional cleaning combined with at good at home care, including regular brushing and flossing, can help keep the problem under control. Unless you carry the toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you at all times, the mouth might lose its freshness during the course of the day.

Certain foods tend to cause bad breath. Some foods, such as onions, curry, cheese, fish and garlic can produce an odor that comes out through the pores. Some foods can take an entire day to clear the bloodstream, meaning that after eating an offending food, you should be extra vigilant, or keep you distance from people.

It is not practical to take a break to freshen your breath with an hourly brush and gargle. Sometimes breath mints just don’t’ seem to do the trick. Fortunately, there are several foods that offer a quick breath freshening solution. Some foods, such as parsley and lemon wedge, are readily available as a garnish when we go out to eat. Some breath freshening foods, such as apples and spices are easy to carry along and munch when handy.
1. Lemons. The yellow citrus fruit is often used as a restaurant garnish or in glasses of ice water. Suck on the lemon wedge or nibble on the lemon rind. Lemon candy is also an effective, portable breath freshener.

2. Parsley and green garnishes. The most common green garnish is parsley, but fresh basil and rosemary also work as breath fresheners. Do not waste that green sprig on the plate. After eating your meal, chew on and eat the garnish. The green garnish freshens breath and adds nutrients to your meal.

3. Apples, Pears, Carrots, Jicama. Crispy refreshing fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and bump up saliva production as you chew. These crisp foods, and others like them, act like a scrubbing rinse for the mouth.

4. Crunchy Spices. Exotic spices, such as anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander and fennel seeds are easily found in the spice aisle of the grocery store. A dish of these spicy seeds can be kept on the dining room table next to the salt and pepper. These hard, dry seeds can also be kept in the little plastic bags in the purse or pocket. Chew on a few exotic spicy seeds to sweeten after dinner or coffee breath.

5. Mint Sprigs. Mint is the active ingredient in many commercial breath mints and gum. Chew on a fresh mint sprig for a refreshing change of pace.

6. Cinnamon Sticks. Cinnamon sticks are a pleasant tasting spice that can easily be carried in your purse or pocket. An essential oil in cinnamon kills a nasty oral bacteria, as well as squelching the sulfur smell of onion and garlic.

7. Berries. Colorful fruits, such as berries, melons and oranges are high in vitamin C and deter stinky bacteria in the mouth.

8. Yogurt. Eat a half a cup of plain, sugar free, yogurt twice a day to lower levels of hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Combine the yogurt with fresh fruit for an extra dollop of breath freshening goodness.

Foods that freshen breath are easily available and portable. Keep breath freshening foods with you at all times for unexpected bad breath emergencies.