How to Tell if Your Breath Stinks

a young adult male with a lemon in his mouth. His face is puckered likely from the sour taste.

Four ways to check your breath and stop stressing about whether or not your breath stinks.

Of the many things that the Covid-19 pandemic made us more aware of, I have heard many people exclaim how much more aware they are of what their breath smells like after wearing a mask.

It is arguably impossible to ignore of, or be oblivious to, the scent of your own breath when it clouds between your mask and nose for long periods of time, but as every day life has shifted back to “normal” and masks become optional in most places, bad breath may not be as easy to pick up on as it had been.

So, how can you tell what your breath smells like? If we all become nose-blind to our own scents, does that work the same with our breath? In this article we’ll go through the many ways you can tell if your breath stinks and quick tips on how to combat it.

No matter how you choose to check if your breath stinks, the Fresh-Tips mini travel toothbrush has your back. With a delicious sugar-free freshening ring and soft rubber bristles, pack it in your bag to use any time your start to stress over the stink.

Keep reading to find out more about:

  • How to tell if your breath stinks
  • Quick tips to freshen your breath
  • What to do if you have bad breath with no evident cause


Four ways to tell if your breath stinks

There are many ways to tell if your breath stinks, some more discreet than others.

Having bad breath can feel embarrassing, and being unsure whether your breath smells bad or not can feel even worse. 

While there’s no particular reason to be embarrassed about bad breath, considering it can be caused by a variety of reasons—some of which are out of your control—it’s also helpful to have ways to check your breath.

There are many ways to tell if your breath stinks, but we will focus on four simple ways to check the scent of your breath. While some are more discreet than others, they can all help to catch bad breath quickly and combat it.

A woman smiling while holding a Fresh Tips disposable toothbrush.

Smile confidently with your Fresh-Tips mini travel toothbrush, your best friend for beating bad breath.

The lick test (smelling your saliva)

This may not seem appealing to you, and granted it’s not the most discreet way to test whether or not your breath smells, but it is one way to check the scent of your breath. 

The lick test is exactly what it sounds like: you lick the back of your hand or wrist, wait ten seconds, and then check whether the place that you licked smells bad. If it does, then it’s probably a good time to reach for a mint or a Fresh-Tips mini toothbrush.

While the lick test is very helpful with checking what your breath smells like, it is not something you should do in public, unless you’re okay with getting many weird looks.


Smelling your breath directly

 Another easy way to get an idea of what your breath smells like is to smell your breath directly. This may seem difficult, but it isn’t! All you have to do is cup your hands tightly over your mouth and nose and breath through your mouth.

Similar to the lick test, this is not the most discreet way to test whether your breath smells. However, you may be able to pass it off that you’re waiting for a sneeze that doesn’t come.


Asking someone you really trust whether your breath smells

If you’re really desperate to know whether your breath smells, you can always ask a trusted friend or family member. This would all depend on your comfort level with the person that you are asking, and your willingness to listen to their honest opinion.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking a family member or friend, bringing up the topic of bad breath with your dentist, and asking them to assess it is also an option. Your dentist will be able to give a professional opinion and provide tips or treatment for bad breath and may be able to give recommendations for persistent bad breath.

black and white closeup photo of a women's smile taken from the side.
There are many ways to check if your breath stinks, but generally if you have a sour or bad taste in your mouth, your breath most likely smells a bit strong as well.


You may be able to taste your breath

There’s a reason many people avoid eating strong flavors such as garlic, onion, or sardines. These flavors tend to last in one’s mouth and impact the scent of your mouth. If you have a bad taste in your mouth, most likely your breath smells strong as well. 

Rinsing your mouth with water, while not as effective as brushing your teeth or rinsing with mouthwash, may help to reduce the scent left behind by strong-smelling foods.


Quick tips for freshening your breath

Having bad breath is not fun for you or those around you, but it’s not the end of the world.

While having bad breath is no fun and may make you feel embarrassed, there are many ways to counteract it. Freshening your breath on the go is incredibly easy and there are various ways to improve the scent of your breath.

Some ways that you can freshen your breath includes:

  • Chewing sugar-free mint gum, mints, or tic-tacs
  • Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash
  • Brushing your teeth with a Fresh-Tips disposable mini toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Drink water
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits

Sugar-free mint gum, mints, and tic-tacs are great for dealing with bad breath, but they only really help to mask sour breath and after a little while you may notice that their effect begins to wear off.

Depending on the sugar amount in the product, you may even notice that it adds to the sourness of your breath after a while. Sugar-free mint gum is the best option if you’re looking for a product that can help mask bad breath. Cutting down on the amount of sugar and carbs in your diet can also help to improve the scent of your breath.

2 small bottlers of Listerine sit on a counter.  
Mouthwash such as Listerine is great for freshening your breath and ridding your mouth of odor-causing bacteria.

 Rinsing with mouthwash and flossing are also great ways for preventing or minimizing bad breath. However, not everyone carries mouthwash and floss on them all the time. If you do, we commend your commitment to dental care!

Drinking water is also a great way to reduce bad breath. While it isn’t as effective as brushing your teeth, flossing, or chewing sugar-free gum, rinsing your mouth with water can help to keep your mouth moisturized. This can help to prevent dry mouth, which often encourages the development of odor-causing bacteria.

Eating fibrous fruits and vegetables can also help to clean your teeth, though they aren’t a long term solution to bad breath. Eating a few carrots or celery sticks throughout the day can help to get rid of more sugary food that sticks to your gums and teeth.

What to do if bad breath persists

If bad breath persists despite changes in your oral hygiene routine, it may be good to bring it up with your doctor or dentist.

While a change in diet and improved oral hygiene often aid in reducing bad breath, persistent bad breath that continues despite these changes may be a sign of underlying health conditions. If bad breath persists despite all of your best efforts, it may be time to contact your dentist or doctor.

Common underlying health conditions that may cause bad breath range from infections in your mouth or nose to diseases such as cancer or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other potential causes of bad breath involve:

  • Prescription medications
  • Digestive issues
  • Smoking
  • High carb and high protein diets
  • Coffee and alcohol
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
A women checking her phone while drinking a drink like one you may find in a Starbucks. She appears to be in a coffee shop.
Drinking things like coffee and alcohol can make your breath smell sour, but if bad breath persists despite diet changes, it may be time to talk to a doctor.

Bad breath doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence. There are many ways to recognize it early and even more ways to freshen your breath quickly. One of the best ways to freshen your breath is by using the Fresh-Tips disposable mini toothbrush.

Fresh-Tips disposable mini toothbrush is designed to freshen your breath on the go. This tiny brush doesn’t require toothpaste or water and comes with a sugar-free candy ring that freshens your breath in just a minute. It even has a food pick to work out any of those difficult-to-reach crevices.

So, to conclude, there are many ways to tell if your breath stinks, some more discreet than others! No matter how you check the scent of your breath, there are plenty of tools that can help you freshen up your breath in no time!



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