8 Ways to Tell If You Have Bad Breath

3 years ago

You might often wonder how your breath smells, but you can’t always tell whether or not you have bad breath. This is something you should definitely be mindful of it, and there are a few ways to manually assess if it is time to brush your teeth. Unless we’re talking about halitosis, which is chronic bad breath and should send you directly to the dentist or doctor. Try to lick the inside of your wrist, for example, and sniff it afterward. This should give you an idea of how your breath smells.

Bright Side cares about you and wants to show you 8 ways that can indicate your breath is not as fresh as a stick of peppermint gum.

1. Lick the inside of your wrist and smell it.

After you lick the inside of your wrist, wait for 5 to 10 seconds and then sniff it. This should give you an accurate sense of how your breath smells. If you sense a bad odor, it can be because of the sulfur coating from your tongue.

2. Run a finger close to the base of your tongue.

Do it so that your finger touches the back of your mouth. Sometimes, bacteria-covered stones can appear on the tonsils at the back of your throat and they might be the responsible ones for the bad odor. After the saliva dries, smell your finger.

3. Breathe into a clean glass.

Take a clean glass and breathe inside of it. Afterward, put the same glass around your nose and breathe in sharply. The smell you sense should help you assess your own breath. You can also use an odorless plastic bag. Try to find one in your kitchen. Exhale deeply inside of it and afterward take a big sniff.

4. Wipe the surface of your tongue with a piece of gauze.

Look at the gauze afterward. Does it have a yellow-ish coating? That means that there is also a smell and it is caused by a high level of sulfide production. You can also try this test with a tissue.

5. Use a spoon.

Take a spoon and scrape the back of your tongue with it. Leave it to dry for a bit and then smell it. You should also check for the coating you removed from the surface of your tongue.

6. Use a tongue scraper.

Scrape from the back of your tongue, and if you notice that the coating on your tongue is white-ish, then that means that a lot of debris from food, bacteria, or dead cells have gathered on there. You should clean your tongue regularly. If it still doesn’t go away within a few weeks, you should check with your doctor. A pink, clear tongue is an indication of good oral health.

7. Use dental floss.

Choose odorless floss for this test so that it does not influence the result. Floss between your teeth — exactly as you do during your daily routine — and sniff it afterward. This should reveal your own smell. Bad breath can originate from food stuck between your teeth as well.

8. Perform a special test at the dentist.

If you don’t feel comfortable with your breath or even if you go just for a routine check-up, ask your dentist for help. He can perform a halimeter test, which determines the level of volatile sulfur compound (VSC) in your mouth. A high level means an overgrowth of bacteria, either from your bowel or mouth.

Your dentist can also perform an organoleptic test, where he tests your breath through a plastic straw.

Causes of a bad breath

Bad breath can happen for multiple reasons, from poor oral hygiene to gum disease and tooth decay. Not using the right toothbrush or not changing it every 3 to 4 months can increase your chances of developing halitosis. In some rare cases, bad breath can indicate some underlying health conditions, so go see a doctor if this persists.

Food is also important. If you follow a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet, you might experience the so-called “camel breath.” This happens because your body is in a state of ketosis, a metabolic state where your body breaks down ketones instead of glucose.


You cannot actually tell if you have a bad breath by breathing into your cupped hands, which is a very popular gesture. The reason is that bad breath comes from the gases produced at the back of your tongue, and when we talk, our smell originates from there. It doesn’t happen like this when we blow into our hands so we might miss it.

Have you already tried any of the methods we proposed? Do you know of any other that worked? Please share them with us and other readers, so we can all avoid any awkward situations.

Preview photo credit 5-Minute Crafts GIRLY / Youtube


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