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Hellacious Halitosis

Dear Sugar
I just started dating a new guy three months ago. Everything is going great except for one little issue that I have with him; he has the world’s worst breath! At first I just thought maybe he just didn’t brush his teeth very often, but after going away for the weekend together, I saw first hand that even shortly after brushing, it came right back again.

I don’t know what to do because I love spending time with him, but his breath is really taking a toll on our relationship. Kissing him is sometimes very unpleasant and when we go out together, I know that other people notice it too and sort of keep their distance from him. Our relationship still feels so new and vulnerable to me and I am unsure how to bring up this topic without totally offending him. Do you have any suggestions? Grossed Out Girlfriend

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Grossed Out Girlfriend
Halitosis, the scientific name for bad breath is very common and affects roughly 50 million people in America. What a bummer for you. The good news is that there are measures that he can take to eliminate that foul odor.

Since the bacteria that causes the bad smell is typically located on the far back of the tongue, your boyfriend might not even be aware of his problem. Unfortunately you are going to have to confront him about this if you want to rectify it. This is an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you’ve got to bite the bullet and let him know…. wouldn't you want to know if you had stank breath?

Tell him that you’ve noticed that sometimes his mouth has a funny smell after you guys eat particular foods and so you’ve been looking into this a little bit. Here are a couple of facts about foul breath that you might find helpful:

  • 95% of bad breath comes from the mouth so making sure to brush your tongue is the first step.
  • It’s very important to stay on top of routine dental check ups to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and disease/odor free.
  • Try to stay away from certain foods such as: garlic, peppers, onions, alcohol, and harsh spices, which can sometimes leave you with a funky odor in your mouth.

If all of these preventative measures are not helping, I suggest that your boyfriend see his doctor. If you are still at a standstill and you are desperate to save your relationship, there is an online company that will actually send an anonymous e-mail to your boyfriend delivering the bad news. Although it’s incredibly passive aggressive and slightly mean, it may help. Check it out here.

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