Dealing With People Who Have Bad Breath

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and notice that the other person’s breath just stinks? You probably didn’t say anything because you wanted to be polite, so instead you may have backed up a few inches or just cut the conversation short. You may have even offered them a piece of gum as a subtle way of telling them that they have bad breath.

My friend used to have breath like this. He didn’t have bad breath all the time, but whenever he did, it was awful. I would actually cringe at times because of how bad it was. I don’t know if he didn’t know how to brush his teeth properly, or if he just ate dog crap on the regular. But, I was a little embarrassed whenever we met new people together because I didn’t want to be associated with someone whose breath stunk. The worst part about it was that he would always be in your face if you were talking to him, so you would have no choice but to inhale the fumes. Eventually, I decided enough was enough and I confronted him about his breath problem. He actually took it much better than I expected and he ended up thanking me for letting him know.

Now, almost every time I see him, he is chewing a piece of gum and his breath smells normal! If you want to confront someone about their breath problem, I can’t guarantee the same results, but I can help you out.

How Well Do You Know the Person?

Only you know how well you know someone. Is this your best friend or some stranger you met on the street? If it’s the latter, you probably shouldn’t say anything. But, if it’s your friend it shouldn’t hurt to let them know.

Know When to Tell Them

Having bad breath is embarrassing, so don’t confront someone about it in public. Wait until you are alone with the person to let them know.

How Often Do They Have It?

Is this the first time you are noticing this or do they have it all the time? If they don’t have a problem, there’s no need to cause conflict over it.

Don’t Be Too Direct

You don’t want to hurt their feelings. Imagine if you have bad breath. How would you want someone to tell you?

Watch Your Tone

It’s not the words you say that destroy a relationship, it’s the way you say them. Everyone reacts differently to criticism, so keep your tone kind and gentle.

If you have any other tips or stories about people with bad breath, feel free to leave it in the comments!


Dental Secrets is providing this information for informational purposes only. Please consult a dentist or health advisor for questions. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up to date.

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