If you are out in public and begin to suspect you have bad breath, what can you do?
Ideally, everyone could check their breath using a halimeter. According to the Vancouver Sun, the system tests exhaled air for the pungent presence of hydrogen sulfide. However, it involves expensive machinery that only the rare expert will possess.
So how can you tell that you have halitosis, short of breathing into your palm, a method that is unreliable anyway?
Leaning away - Typically when humans interact they lean toward one another as a sign of attention. If you’re conversing with someone and get the sensation that they are leaning away ever so slightly, you may have bad breath.
Touching the nose - If the person you are talking to repeatedly puts their fingers or palms under their nose, they may be telling you that you have halitosis. The gesture may look thoughtful, but it’s likely that the scent of their fingertips is overriding the smell of your mouth.
Testing or treating their own breath - If someone tests their own breath, consider testing yours. If someone offers you a mint, consider taking it. Such actions are socially acceptable hints that you, not they, have bad breath.
A mint will not alleviate halitosis, however. In order to be rid of bad breath at the source, individuals may brush their teeth, rinse with specialty breath freshening products, or even sip some water, in order to neutralize bacteria and their odors.