Great moments in bad breath history, part 1: A look into literature
So you think bad breath is too gross a subject for art and literature? Think again! In the past century, halitosis has made its appearance in loads of great books. As you read the quotes below, consider purchasing a tongue scraper or an oral care probiotics kit. As you'll see, many of the characters below (or, presumably, their creators) had limited access to effective breath fresheners.
"The smell was partly bad breath, cheese, milk, tongue film, but also the singed smell of drilled teeth. It was the kind of bad breath you get used to the closer you go in, until you can't really notice because it's your own breath, too." -Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
"'He's alive all right,' Death remarked to, who was it, Gibreel. 'But my dear. His breath: what a pong. When did he last clean his teeth?' One man's breath was sweetened, while another's, by an equal and opposite mystery, was soured... Good breath/bad breath." -Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
"All the miasms of the cess-pool are mingled with the breath of the city; hence this bad breath." -Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
"My father thought that no one could smell vodka on his breath and he often drank it when he made long appearances in society. It was unconsciousness that betrayed his secret drinking, not bad breath." -Pat Conroy, Beach Music
"Lit sharply by carbide light which hisses and smells like the bad breath of someone quite familiar to you..." -Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
"'You're my best friend, right?'
"'Okay. Sometimes I think I have bad breath.' She stopped. 'The thing is, you can never tell if you have bad breath or not. So the thing is' - she paused - 'I want you to check it for me.'
"I didn't know what to say and so said nothing.
"'Is that too disgusting?'
"'No,' I said finally.
"'Okay, here goes.' She leaned towards me and huffed a single breath in my face..."
-Jeffrey Eugenides, -Middlesex
"She kindly supplied her with a family remedy against bad breath: 'Bad breath originates in the stomach and several causes contribute to it. To alleviate it, start by gargling salt water mixed with a few drops of powdered camphor vinegar, sniffing the mixture up the nostrils at the same time. In addition, chew mint leaves constantly. By itself, the regimen proposed here when followed rigorously, can purify the foulest breath." -Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate