Songs can say a lot. In just a few bars, musicians can cover topic like love, hate, fear, anger, envy, joy and even bad breath. Below are a few songs that famously touch on the touchy subject of halitosis.
Blink 182’s “Does My Breath Smell?” may be the oddest song to ever ask the question, since it never mentions bad breath at all. However, the rhetorical question refers to the songwriter’s inability to attract people of the opposite sex, one of the most commonly cited downsides of smelly breath.
In Green Day’s “Geek Stink Breath,” the speaker’s boredom is “killing my complexion and it’s rotting out my teeth.” This line might indicate that he ignores dental hygiene, a major cause of bad breath. Later in the song, he goes on to mention that he is “blowing off steam with methamphetamine.” Drug use generally, and methamphetamines in particular, can cause overpowering halitosis, especially since the drug in question tends to rot the teeth and increase the risk of gum disease.
Tupac Shakur’s “Check Out Time” is one of the few songs to mention morning breath. As the song’s speaker wakes up in a hotel, he says “Now I’m up early in the mornin’, breath stinkin’ as I’m yawnin’.” The complaint is a common one. Sleeping with the mouth open dries the tongue and palate, ridding the mouth of bacteria-killing saliva. Oral dehydration often leads to bacterial growth, which can create a strong reek by wake-up time.
A more recent song by Modest Mouse, “The Fruit that Ate Itself,” seems to refer to halitosis gotten simply from talking too much, with the line “Got bad breath talking about fresh rain.” Like sleeping with an open mouth or coughing, excessive speaking can cause bad breath. In anxious situations, public speaking - like wedding toasts or lectures - may actually worsen the effect, as nerves can cause severe cotton mouth.
Finally, Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” makes a play on an old mouthwash ad. “The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath,” he says, and as far as regular mouthwashes go, he might be right. While normal mouthwash may kill bacteria, it may not neutralize smelly sulfuric compounds the way specialty breath freshening products do.