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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.

Join The Conversation
My-Opinion My-Opinion 10 years
nutrbutr, you know 'how' many times Ive sang that dang hokey pokey and ya turn yourself about....ahhhhhhhhhh, LOL~ cause it's right under your comment instead of spaced...
ESPNgirl ESPNgirl 10 years
I actually hadn't been signed up as a member before, but I saw this post and really had the urge to comment as I have been in this situation... Except that I was the culprit. Well, not exactly - I didn't have Halitosis (trust me, I went to a doctor and a dentist to make sure, I was so paranoid!) - it was solely based on the foods that I was eating that caused the unpleasantness. Luckily because I had a decent cleaning itinerary and everything, it all went away....but that didn't stop it from being a problem at the beginning, and my boyfriend (who was pretty much my best friend before we dated) found it really really hard, but did ultimately tell me. I would recommend being honest with him. Hearing it from my boyfriend hurt a lot obviously, but sometimes you don't realize that maybe it is a problem (I didn't realize there was a problem until he told me...we tend to adjust to ourselves so well that we don't notice if something may be awry to others). My boyfriend started it off to the extent of, "I really care about you, and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but there is something I need to talk to you about that may be developing into an issue of something that could potentially hurt our relationship..." By starting by telling him how you feel about him and letting them know that you're not out to hurt them but you're concerned is important. It will probably hurt his pride (it definitely did mine) but I think you want to reiterate how much you do care about him and how much that you want things to work out. There are things dentists and others can recommend for Halitosis - it happens. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's harder, but it's something that can't go unnoticed - if eventually the relationship suffers and that's why things end, then he's going to be really pissed that this was something that he could have potentially controlled or fixed and never had the chance. Okay, I'm done. But if it's any consolation to you, that happened 2 months into my & my boyfriend's relationship, and we're now on month 9. It's something you can get by (although as I mentioned, I didn't have as severe of a situation), but you just have to be sure to openly communicate with him. Good luck!
mutley mutley 10 years
When was the last time the guy saw a dentist? Or even a doctor? It could be advanced gum disease. Seriously, a guy in my office had loose teeth and his breath was bad. Or, it could be a stomach issue. No amount of brushing or scraping will correct a stomach issue. I'd bring up the topic nicely and suggest several checkups. If he's a good guy, he'll thank you for helping him.
Starbrite Starbrite 10 years
If his bad breath is still there after he brushes he might have an abcese tooth.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
tell him to drink more water, bad breath comes from lack of saliva and a dry mouth. he may dehydrated what if the hokey pokey is really what its all about
LaylaCams LaylaCams 10 years
LaylaCams LaylaCams 10 years
By that boy a tongue scraper for Christmas.
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