No matter how much you love someone, bad breath is never a good thing. Bad breath (also known as halitosis) is very common and affects most people at some point in their lives; some people often suffer from bad breath, while others will only experience it on an infrequent basis, but it can have as devastating an effect on a relationship as one's cosmetic appearance.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by different factors, including poor oral hygiene, strong smelling foods and dental health problems. Chronic bad breath is usually a result of bacteria settling on the tongue and surfaces of the mouth; these bacteria release unpleasant odours. Short-term bad breath is also associated with foods and drinks with strong odours including fish, onions, garlic and coffee. It’s really important to brush the teeth on a regular basis to prevent bacteria from settling in the mouth. Using mouthwash and dental floss on a regular basis will also help to reduce the risk of halitosis. Smoking can also contribute to bad breath.
Approaching the subject
It can be difficult to talk to someone about having bad breath because it’s not the nicest thing to hear about yourself and they may be offended. It’s along the same lines as telling someone they have body odour or they should perhaps have gone for a slightly bigger dress size. If you know someone well you should find it easier to approach the subject but try to be tactful and honest. Bad breath can be a bit of a passion-killer so if your partner has bad breath and it’s ruining intimate moments, ask them politely to brush their teeth or rinse their mouth out before they kiss you, for example.
If you can’t face telling them straight, try to encourage them to brush their teeth, chew gum or eat a mint, for example. This will make their breath smell fresher and more pleasant without having to talk to them about their breath or offend them. If they have chronic bad breath you will probably need to persuade them to adopt a better oral hygiene programme or avoid certain foods.
If you don’t know someone very well, for example if you’ve just started dating them and they have bad breath, it will probably be really difficult to confront them about it because you don’t know how they will react and you may appear a little bit rude. Instead of tacking the problem front on and going in all guns blazing, try to be subtle and eat mints after dinner or if you are cooking a meal, avoid using strong smelling foods.
If your partner smokes and you can’t deal with their breath after smoking, talk to them about it. The only way to deal with unpleasant breath after smoking is to stop smoking, but eating mints or chewing gum can help to disguise the smell on a short-term basis.
Preventing the problem
To prevent bad breath it is beneficial to stick to a good daily oral hygiene routine, which should involve brushing the teeth twice a day and using dental floss and mouthwash regularly. If you have noticed that your partner doesn’t brush their teeth regularly, try to encourage them to start cleaning their teeth twice a day. This will improve their general oral health, as well as ensuring their breath is clean and fresh smelling. Visiting the dentist on a regular basis will also help to prevent bad breath. You can ask for a deep cleaning treatment or arrange to see a dental hygienist if you are worried about your oral hygiene.
Some people are prone to bad breath; if you are one of these people, try to avoid foods like onions and coffee, which will almost certainly leave an unpleasant, lingering odour in your mouth and carry mints or chewing gum with you. After meals, try to brush your teeth or use mouthwash to rinse your mouth out to keep your mouth fresh throughout the day.