Offensive breath can leave you feeling isolated, self-conscious, insecure and - if it’s a particularly intractable case - hopeless. Part of the difficulty of tackling halitosis is its countless causes. Attack nine of ten, and the tenth will live to reek another day.
Could there possibly be ten causes of bad breath? And then some. Just a few of the of repulsive oral odor-inducers include pungent foods, a filmy or dirty tongue, dental plague, tooth decay, ugly red puffy gums, dry mouth, illness, tonsil stones, dirty dentures or braces, smoking and alcohol.
It is nearly impossible to relax without being surrounded by the agents of bad breath. Go to the movies and greasy and sugary foods will beckon, like popcorn and pizza and nacho cheese, destined to stick in oral crevices and, if not rinsed away with specialty breath fresheners, to rot in the mouth.
Drinking sweetened sodas and eating candy can have similar repercussions, since oral bacteria break down some food components into foul-smelling compounds like hydrogen sulfide. The net effect can ruin a date or movie night, leaving you dispirited and out 30 or 40 dollars.
Does this cloud of stinky exhalation have a silver lining? Well, if commiseration over bad breath is to be found anywhere, it’s at the movies.
Remember Gone with the Wind? When the movie was being shot, a wind most foul was known to blow on-set: Vivien Leigh famously complained of Clark Gable’s bad breath, reportedly caused by dental bridges.
Or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: listen closely and you’ll find that the twelfth use of dragon’s blood is as a treatment for halitosis.
Remember the Princess Bride? At one point, Inigo Montoya’s alcohol-saturated breath nearly knocks down Andre the Giant, who was known outside the film for being able to take a punch from Hulk Hogan.
Or Animal House, which famously opens with Kent “Flounder” Dorffman checking his breath before an especially disastrous rush party. He certainly repels everyone in sight.
And don’t forget television. In a recent episode of Glee, Emma Pilsbury “a girl who knows her solvents,” warns Kurt that his breath smells like rubbing alcohol. On Family Guy, Stewie is told his breath smells like kitty litter, to which he shrieks “I was curious!”
Whatever your breath smells like, if it is unpleasant or offensive, try brushing your teeth two or three times a day, flossing regularly and using some specialty breath fresheners to moisten your mouth and attack the bacteria that cause halitosis.