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Lick the inside of your wrist. Wait 5-10 seconds for the saliva to dry. Try to do this discreetly–when you’re alone and not in a public place, or you may get strange looks from those around you. Avoid trying this test just after you’ve brushed your teeth, used mouthwash, or eaten something minty, as a freshly-cleaned mouth may give you inaccurate results.
Smell the inside of your wrist where the saliva has dried. This is, more or less, what your breath smells like. If it smells unsavoury, then you may need to improve your dental hygiene and overall health. If it doesn’t smell like anything, then your breath probably isn’t too bad–but you might need to try another self-test to be sure. Bear in mind that this method primarily pulls saliva from the tip (anterior portion) of your tongue, which is fairly self-cleansing. Thus, smelling your licked wrist will only tell you how the best-smelling part of your tongue smells–and most bad breath tends to originate from the back of the mouth where it meets the throat. You can wash the saliva off of your wrist, but don’t worry if you don’t have access to water or sanitiser since the smell will dissipate quickly as the skin dries. If your breathing problems are relatively minor, you may not be able to smell much. If you’re still worried, consider trying another self-testing method to give yourself a “second opinion”.
Try swabbing the back of your tongue. Use a finger or a piece of cotton gauze to reach deep into your mouth but not so far back as to trigger your gag reflex and wipe the surface of your tongue at the back of your mouth. Any bad-breath bacteria lurking back there will come off onto the swabbing tool. Sniff the swab (your finger or the cotton) for an accurate sense of how the back of your mouth smells. This method may reveal bad breath more precisely than merely licking your arm. Chronic halitosis is caused by bacteria that breed on your tongue and between your teeth and most of these bacteria congregate near the back of your mouth. The tip of your tongue is fairly self-cleaning, and you may clean the front of your mouth more regularly than the back of your mouth.
Consider asking a trusted friend or family member whether your breath smells bad. You can try to smell your own breath, but you can only ever approximate what someone else smells. The best way to know for sure is to swallow your pride and ask, “Be honest. Does my breath smell bad?” Choose a person that you trust–someone that won’t go around telling people, and someone that will be honest with you about your breath. Ask a close friend who you know won’t judge you. Avoid asking a crush or a romantic partner, as serious bad breath might be a turn-off. Avoid asking strangers, unless you’re feeling particularly bold. It may seem embarrassing, at first, but you may find it a huge relief to get a trusted opinion on the matter. It’s better to hear it from a close friend than from, say, someone you’d like to kiss.
Be considerate. Don’t just breathe into someone’s face and say, “How does my breath smell?” Bring up the topic delicately, and always ask before demonstrating. If you spend a lot of time in close contact with the person, they may have already noticed that your breath smells bad; they may have just been too polite to bring it up. Say, “I’m worried that my breath might smell bad, but I can’t really tell. This is embarrassing, but have you noticed anything?” Say, “This might sound strange but does my breath smell bad? I’m taking Jenny out to a movie tonight, and I’d rather deal with it now than wait for her to notice.
Unfortunately, those who are introverts tend to experience bad breath more often considering the fact that they hardly open their mouth even though that may not be a chronic illness