It's a rare day when a stranger will tell you that you have bad breath. It may be uncommon because it is so difficult to do. In spite of, or even because of, that difficulty, etiquette experts recommend telling someone when they have halitosis - albeit in a gentle way.
The founder of the Etiquette School of New York, Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, told CNN that it is essential to inform friends and co-workers when they have oral odor. She said that even though it may feel harsh, it is better to openly and kindly address the issue face-to-face.
"If you respect the person, it's your duty to tell them," she added.
Napier-Fitzpatrick recommended either having a private discussion or - if that just isn't possible - discreetly offering a mint.
Likewise, toothpaste manufacturer Colgate suggests methods that range from veiled - "Would you like a stick of gum or a drink? I’m feeling parched" - to honest but sensitive. It adds that an anonymous note may do the trick.
If you find that your friends are sending you undeniable signals, or outright telling you you have bad breath, don't delay. Consider brushing more often and using a specialty breath freshener afterwards.