Comedian Demetri Martin once said that "another term for a balloon is a 'bad breath holder.'" How right he is. After all, the odds that a balloon inflated by mouth has halitosis in it are one in four, according to multiple medical studies. However, Martin also inadvertently points to one method of testing your breath to see if it is bad.
Most people who are curious about their oral odor do pretty much the same thing in order to test it: they cup their hands, exhale into them and then sniff the air in them. While this technique doubles as a solid Darth Vader impression, it is not very effective. Most of the odor molecules you breathe out quickly dissipate through your fingers.
What can you do to diagnose your breath? Many oral health experts recommend that you take a white plastic spoon and gently scrape the back of your tongue. Alternatively, you can swab the area with a cottonball. If the spoon or cotton comes away with a yellowish or whitish film on it, you probably have halitosis.
Of course, there's also Martin's method, which, believe it or not, allows you to detect bad breath reasonably well. Just be prepared to get a faceful of it, and to seek out some specialty breath fresheners afterward.