Recently, a reader of one of the nation's largest and most widely read newspapers wrote is asking for advice on how to get her significant other to brush his teeth more often. It seems that the man has a less-than-stellar oral hygiene routine, and is in need of some all-natural bad breath remedies.
The reader, Robin from New York, mentions "the lack of toothpaste use in his bathroom and his terrible breath." She then explains that she's tried every thing to get her partner to use bad breath remedies, but to no avail: "I offer mints frequently and extol the benefits of my electric toothbrush, which only makes him defensive."
Ultimately, his halitosis is turning her off, while her subtle hints are ticking him off. What's a couple to do?
Well, for starters, Robin might consider investing in some specialty breath fresheners that actually make a difference. One of the problems with mints, gums, traditional toothpastes and even high-powered electric toothbrushes is that they don't get at the root of the problem: bacteria.
Nearly all of the dental hygiene products that you can buy at the grocery store either (a) don't make a dent in halitosis, or (b) make it worse by irritating sensitive gums and drying out your mouth. Dryness allows microbes to multiply like crazy, leading to an intense funk.
What Robin might consider is shopping online for specialty products, especially those that skip the alcohol and irritants in favor of all-natural ingredients. She might even try leaving the website up afterward as another hint to her partner about his oral odor.
That said, we're with the newspaper on this one: In the end, it's best to be direct - if still gentle and tactful - about a loved one's bad breath. Dropping hints without ever initiating an open discussion is a bit passive-aggressive, and, as Robin notes herself, it doesn't work. (Of course, it is a little weird that her partner doesn't seem to use any toothpaste...)
By talking honestly about halitosis, it may be possible to get around to really treating it. And when you finally attack bad breath head-on, use specialty products that will get the job done the first time.