It's a message that many people have gotten over the years, be it from other people's body language, their choice of words or even the direct statement itself - you have bad breath. halitosis, and the urge to inform someone that they have it, is so common that it regularly makes its way into the movies.
Here are some instances in which film characters talk about, deal with, detect or detest bad breath.
Halitosis is a very human condition. After all, animals don't seem to mind, while robots and demigods just don't have to deal with it. In James Cameron's The Terminator, Reese - a character sent back in time to protect protagonist Sarah Connor - explains that the robotic assassin sent to kill her simulates humans, even though it isn't one. "The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot," he says.
Humans who've had halitosis know that it can keep people at a distance. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Hermione wolfs down an hors d'oeuvre called Dragon Tartare for just this reason. At first she declines, but when the waiter says "Just as well. They give you terrible bad breath," she takes two in order to keep her fake love interest, Cormac, at arm's length.
Food is a common source of oral odor. For people, this means that a million meals may cause bad breath. For anteaters, the offending meal is fairly obvious. In Ice Age: The Meltdown, Aardvark Dad tells Manny the Mammoth that Manny may be the last of his kind. Manny's response is acidic. "Uh, your breath smells like ants."
While most people need not worry about that particular smell, which would probably come from formic acid - the chemical that gives ant bites their sting - halitosis can be caused by too much acidity in one's diet. It can also be caused by dry mouth, smoking, tonsil stones or simply not brushing often enough.
The television show Bones provides an unusual method of informing someone that they need to brush more thoroughly. Agent Booth sets out a romantic dinner. Booth's girlfriend, Hannah, believes he's going to propose until she sees toothbrushes on the table. "You went through all this to tell me I have bad breath?" she asks. "No," he responds, "I just think you need a new toothbrush. Well, actually, we both do."
When brushing just doesn't alleviate the smell of halitosis, using a specialty breath freshening rinse or oral care probiotic can help moisten the mouth and target odor-causing microbes.