No one wants to walk around with nasty breath. It’s embarrassing. It’s uncouth. It’s not the way for a modern man. You need to know how to smell your own breath so you can avoid this problem altogether. Is there a bad breath detector? Some ancient technique that always works? The surprising answer is yes to all of these. We’re going to show you how bad breath works and what you can do about it so you never ruin a social moment by expelling noxious fumes from your mouth.
Why Do We Get Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a few things. The food you eat can leave a chemical residue in your mouth and cause bad breath. Garlic and curry are probably the most notorious culprits.
Aside from food and drink, your typical bad breath comes from bacteria. Your mouth is a cesspool of microbes, and those microbes do a lot of gross things that are not limited to making it so your spit smells bad. When left unchecked, the microbes build up waste inside your mouth that smells really bad. That’s your classic halitosis.
As we cover this topic, keep in mind that most of it is about microbes. You can easily cut back on the garlic or brush your teeth after a meal. The bacteria is a harder problem to solve.
Why Can’t We Just Smell Our Own Breath?
Have you ever had a bad cold and been unable to taste anything? Did anyone explain to you why that is? When your nose is plugged, it inhibits your sense of taste because the two are so closely connected.
It turns out that there is a direct path between the mouth and the sinuses. So, anything you eat can literally be smelled through your mouth. You see where this is going.
You actually do smell your own bad breath. You smell it every minute of every day, and because it is always present, your brain completely ignores it. It’s like white noise, and you can’t overcome the blind spot of your own bad breath through will power. If you were constantly noticing your own bad breath it would distract you from external smells in the world, and your brain cares about those more.
8 Ways to Test if You Have Bad Breath
Considering bad breath is an indicator of real nastiness inside of your mouth, we all want to be able to tell when our breath is unpleasant. Good news. There are a ton of ways to test your breath, and from the many ways to test for bad breath, you can surely find something that works for you.
1.) Use a Bad Breath Detector
This isn’t an obscure reference. There is actually a device that can tell you how stinky or fresh your breath is. It was developed by a company that makes breathalyzer testers. They finally decided to use their powers for good, and you can buy a detector that measures the scent of your breath. It even includes a bad breath app. Science is wild, frightening and amazing, all at the same time.
2.) Try a Bad Breath Test Kit
Fancy new detectors aside, medical professionals have a number of tests that measure the badness of your breath. The ultimate goal is to use bad breath as a symptom to detect more serious health issues, but regardless, these medical tests exist.
The BANA test is probably the best known. It measures specific bacteria in your mouth that are known to cause bad breath. More importantly, they cause periodontal disease, but we have a specific goal in mind. If you have access to a BANA test kit (or any of the others), it can tell you how your breath is doing.
3.) Ask Someone You Trust
When you don’t have a breath sensor in your pocket, this is the simplest and most reliable breath test out there. Ask a friend or family member. The key is to make sure you ask someone who won’t lie to you to spare your feelings. It’s why coworkers and strangers can be less reliable.
Since you’re doing this, you might as well have fun with it. Simply surprise them by breathing heavily in their face. You’ll get a more honest reaction because they aren’t ready for it.
4.) Apply the Wrist Test
Now, we can learn about a low-tech halitosis tester. The principle of the wrist test is pretty simple. You’re nose blind to your own bad breath, but if you can introduce it to your brain as something outside of your body, you’ll be able to smell it. Most people can use the wrist test, but for some, it will never work. You can calibrate it with the previous tests to see how reliable it is.
Here’s how you do it. Lick your wrist. You might have to be a little vigorous about it. You’re basically rubbing off some of the stinky bacteria. Let it sit for five-ish seconds, then sniff your wrist. You should be able to smell it.
5.) Use the Spoon Test
The spoon test is exactly the same as the wrist test, but it’s a little more reliable. Your wrist can actually mask the scent of bad breath. People who struggle to use the wrist test can usually find more success with the spoon test. It’s the exact same process, but you’re licking a spoon instead of your wrist. You can even pop it in your mouth and suck on it for a bit to get really good exposure. Saliva smells bad, so getting more on the spoon helps the test.
6.) Blow Into a Bag
This still uses the principle of the wrist test, but it’s a little different. Instead of licking yourself and sniffing residue, you’re literally catching your breath so you can sniff it. Breath vigorously into the bag and close it off. Try to let it sit for a few seconds before you sniff it.
Keep in mind that this is a less-reliable version of the tests above.
7.) Floss and Sniff
This is by far the best version of the wrist test. When you floss, you definitely get bacterial residue on the floss (which is really gross when you stop to think about it). After you floss, you can sniff the string. It’ll smell exactly like your mouth.
Here’s the bad news about this test. You’re going to learn that floss stinks most of the time. You know what that really means, right? Your breath is gross more often than it is fresh.
8,) Taste Your Breath
Most adults know when they have bad breath, right? If your mouth tastes gross, there’s a reason for it. You can especially tell when you wake up in the morning and have some raunchy morning breath. You can also tell after eating something super tasty. In general, if your mouth doesn’t taste like anything, you’re good. If your mouth does taste like something, brush your teeth.
How Can I Get Rid of Bad Breath?
There are plenty of things you can do to deal with bad breath. The first and most obvious is to brush your teeth. The minty flavor in the toothpaste will certainly cover and eliminate bad smells, but brushing your teeth does a lot more. The scrubbing action in your mouth breaks up plaque, which is where the bacteria tend to collect. By destroying their habitat, you make it easy to remove bacteria from your mouth when you rinse. By doing that regularly, you prevent a buildup. This reverses bad breath and prevents it from returning quickly.
In addition to basic oral hygiene, you can always mask bad breath when necessary. Man mints and gum are proven to be effective, so don’t be afraid of them.
Drinking more water is also good. This disrupts microbial growth in your mouth and helps keep things under control.
Lastly, you can avoid bad breath in the first place by minding what you eat.
Other Common Questions About Bad Breath
How Do I Tactfully Tell Someone That Their Breath Smells?
The key to tact is to try to be an advocate for the person you’re helping. You want them to know about the breath, but you don’t want it to come from a place of shame. So, tell them one on one. You can use a text or private message if you need to, and say it in a way that is just letting them know, not criticizing or being mean.
Does Vaping Cause Bad Breath?
Of course vaping causes bad breath. What’s worse is that it exacerbates more serious conditions that cause bad breath. You already know that bad breath is tied to bacteria and microbes in your mouth. Vaping causes inflammation in your gums. That inflammation makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Vaping doesn’t just cause bad breath. It can also cause gum disease and other long-term problems.
Is Bad Breath Contagious?
Generally speaking, bad breath is not contagious and you do not need to buy a bad breath detector to tell if you have it. Sharing a drink with or kissing someone who has bad breath isn’t going to make yours suddenly smell gross. That said, sharing bacteria with someone does expose you to potential infections, and those infections can cause bad breath. The thing to remember is that there is an incubation time for developing an illness. It might take days for you to “catch the bad breath” of another person. It certainly won’t happen immediately.
Alright. We have given you ample knowledge to deal with your ketosis breath. You can detect it. You can treat it. You can avoid it. You should never suffer from a smelly tongue in public again.