How many of us have been in a situation where you are having a close-up conversation with a loved one or friend and you get hit with a bad smell? Could be eggy, plastic like, gassy, or even chemical like (read here on what different breath smells mean) but whatever it smells like, you know it’s bad breath.

Bad breath is a very embarrassing issue to deal with but it’s also very common. You obviously want to help this person but it’s a very difficult subject to address and has to be done with the utmost sensitivity and empathy. Let us help give you some advice should you be in this situation.

  1. Get the Timing Right.  We won’t need to tell you this but don’t have a sensitive conversation like this in public or in front of other people. The person you are telling is going to feel embarrassed enough without others hearing. I have witnessed someone telling their partner their breath smells in front of a room full of people and I felt awful for them. Find a quiet moment when you know you won’t be disturbed.
  • Be Compassionate.  This subject needs to be approached with kindness. You could say something like “I noticed your breath smells a little recently, have you been feeling unwell”. Explain that you don’t want them to feel embarrassed, you just want to help them. If you can, try and avoid using the term “bad breath”.
  • Offer Suggestions to Help Them.  How about saying something like “I suffered with my breath a while back and I found that …….. really helped me”. Or “I know a friend who uses …….”. Try and help them by making them feel that others suffer with bad breath too and they aren’t the only ones.
  • Reassure.  At the end of the conversation make sure you say you are always there to talk to and you are happy to help them try and find a solution to their breath issue.

If you really can’t face telling them, you could drop subtle hints like offering them a mint or gum or you could order them a bottle of ProFresh anonymously. It’s always kinder to tell someone but it’s a difficult conversation to have with someone you care about. Just remember.

  • Don’t make fun of them
  • Don’t tell them in front of others
  • Don’t call it bad breath (“your breath isn’t so fresh recently”).
  • Be there for them if they need to talk about it.

The Link between Oral Health and Wellbeing

Did you know that there is a direct link between good oral hygiene and your overall wellbeing?

Well there is and we think it’s really important for you to understand this connection.

We already know that good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth however most people don’t realise the impact oral health has on your overall health and wellbeing. Research papers have been written that demonstrate this link.

Oral Health and Heart Health

A few studies have shown a link between gum disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. A study published by the American Heart Association found that those with periodontitis had a higher risk of developing heart disease than those with healthy gums. It is believed that inflammation and bacteria from the gums might play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Another recent study examined this link more closely and tried to find out the actual cause of this correlation : Cardiovascular and Oral Health Study

Oral Health and Diabetes

Research has shown that those with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease and those with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes. If your diabetes is not controlled well, this can lead to increased levels of glucose in the saliva. This provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive which leads to gum inflammation.  On the flip side, gum disease makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels which could worsen diabetes symptoms. Looking after your oral health as a diabetic is so important if you wish to avoid complications. Diabetes and Oral Health Study

Oral Health and Respiratory Health

A link has been found between poor oral health and infections of the respiratory system. Bacteria from the mouth can be aspirated into the lungs leading to infections such as pneumonia. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. Read this really interesting research paper from the UK.  Respiratory and Oral Health Research Study

Oral Health and Mental Wellbeing

Some studies have pointed towards a connection between poor oral health and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Persistent oral infections and gum disease could contribute to systemic inflammation which has been link to mood issues. Equally if someone is suffering from mental health issues, they may start to neglect their oral health which simply exacerbates their mental health issues.  Another useful study for you to look at: Mental Health and Oral Health.

These are just a handful of studies that have been done, but these show you the extensive research that has been done into the correlation between oral health and wellbeing.

Now we understand more about the link between oral health and our general wellbeing, we owe it to ourselves to have the best oral care routine we can. This involves:

  • Floss
  • Rinse with mouthwash
  • Tongue scrape
  • Rinse with mouthwash again
  • Brush

If you already use ProFresh Mouthwash you know you are already taking an important step towards maintaining good oral health which of course has a positive effect on your general wellbeing.

Shopping checklist:

ProFresh Mouthwash


Tongue Scraper

We like Oral B Toothpastes (mostly due to the dentist fresh taste!)

Can Bad Breath be Tasted or Smelt whilst Kissing?

Many people who suffer from bad breath may wonder whether the person they are kissing can smell their breath. We hope to help find the answer to that.

Kissing isn’t just a physical act, multiple senses are involved such as taste and smell.

So can the person you are kissing smell your breath?

Understanding Taste and Smell

Taste and smell are very closely interlinked. When we eat, drink or breathe in through our nose, tiny receptors pick up on molecules. These receptors send signals to our brains to create the sensation that we interpret as taste and smell.

Whilst kissing, your noses are close together and your breath will no doubt be part of the same air space as the nostrils of the person you are kissing. Unfortunately its highly likely they will be able to smell it.

Can someone Taste my Bad Breath whilst Kissing?

Our taste buds can detect certain flavours and bad breath can sometimes be tasted during a kiss particularly if someone has strong or offensive breath. The food and drink you have consumed will also have an impact on whether your breath smells and can therefore be tasted. For example eating garlic or onions can make one’s breath smell very strong. Smoking makes your mouth taste like an ashtray and drinking alcohol dries your mouth out which can also cause bad breath.

What can you do to stop your partner smelling bad breath whilst kissing?

  1. Stay hydrated – drink water to prevent dry mouth and wash away bacteria.
  • Have good oral hygiene – brush teeth and rinse with mouthwash twice a day and floss once a day too. Tongue scraping is also vital to your oral care routine – on the back of most people’s tongues is a layer of mucus where food debris and bacteria will get stuck. Read here to find out more about how important tongue scraping is.
  • Use an effective mouthwash – rinsing with a good mouthwash (like ProFresh Mouthwash) will not only help get rid of the bad bacteria but can reach those hard to reach places.
  • Diet – if you know you are going to be getting up close and personal then watch what you eat! Avoid spicy or strong smelling foods beforehand. If you are drinking alcohol, then try and drink water in between drinks to keep your mouth hydrated. You could always keep a mini spray bottle of mouthwash with you ready for those romantic moments!
  • Regular Dental or Hygienist appointments – this is SO important. Make sure you visit your Dentist regularly for check-ups so you can maintain good oral hygiene.

To summarise, yes bad breath can have an unwelcome presence whilst kissing. It’s more likely the smell of the bad breath will be an issue than the taste (unless you’ve been eating spicy foods or smoking). Taking good care of your oral health at all times will stop the anxiety of these intimate moments with your partner.

They say communication is important but bad breath is a subject that none of us really want to talk about quite frankly. If you are the person who suffers with bad breath then follow our tips above to ensure you have fresh breath but if it’s your partner with bad breath, that could be more tricky. That might well make for another blog post! Read How to Tell Someone they have Bad Breath

Can you smell your own breath if it’s bad?

Bad breath also know as halitosis is or has been a concern for most of us at some point of our lives. Whatever causes the bad breath, it’s impact on one’s confidence can be fairly stressful.

The short answer to the question of whether you can smell your own breath is – no. It’s fairly difficult for a person to smell their own bad breath. Unfortunately it may take someone else to comment or you may just notice a different taste in your mouth.

When it comes to detecting different smells, the nose is an amazing tool for the body but unfortunately not when it comes to smelling our own odours. Our brains are designed to filter the smells we are used to which is known as the  “olfactory adaption”. Think about the scent of your own house – you don’t think your house has a scent but other peoples houses do. Your house does have its own signature scent – you smell it all the time, so your nose filters it out.

Why can’t I smell my own bad breath?

When you breathe out, air comes out from your mouth and any odour from your breath will mix with the surrounding air and away from your nostrils thus making it difficult to smell your own breath. Therefore it’s much harder to smell your own breath the way we easily smell someone else’s.

So how do I know if I have bad breath?

Well in our opinion, in order of reliability:

  1. Most Reliable : Ask someone.

Yes we know it sounds like the worst suggestion in the world BUT it is the only truly reliable way to know for sure. Ask your partner, best friend, family member or even your child (let’s face it, kids can  be brutally honest). Don’t ask after a sip of coffee or after spicy food. Brush your teeth, wait a couple of hours and then ask. You could always ask your Dentist or Dental Hygienist. That way you will get an honest professional and more importantly, confidential opinion.

  • Fairly Reliable: The Lick Test

Ever heard of the Lick and Sniff test? Simply lick your wrist from as far back on the tongue as you can, allow to dry for a few seconds and then sniff. This will give you an idea of what your breath may smell like to others because the compounds in our saliva mimic those found in your breath.

  • Fairly Reliable: Floss and Sniff

Use floss or interdental brushes between the backs of your teeth and then smell the brush or floss. If there is a bad smell coming from the tool, then it could mean you have bad breath causing bacteria in your mouth. We do have a solution to this! Firstly, ensure flossing is a daily part of  your oral routine. Between each tooth, dip the floss into a cap of ProFresh Mouthwash, this not only clears the gunk of your floss or brush, but when you place the tool back between your teeth, the ProFresh Mouthwash will get to work in places that your mouthwash and toothbrush may not reach with simply rinsing or brushing.

  • Not very reliable: The Mirror Test

Most of us at some point have tried the “breathe into your hands and smell trick”. Your breath will disappear very quickly into the surrounding environment and the only way you will notice any odour is if your breath leaves some residue on your hands which we can smell when we sniff our hand. Which is fairly unlikely.

  • Jurys out: Breath Checker

This is a handheld electronic gadget designed to sense VSC’s (Volatile Sulphur Compounds) and produces a parts per billion (PPB) measure of foul smelling compounds. My personal opinion is, that unless your breath is being measured in a professional Dental Clinic using a more sophisticated piece of equipment such as a Halimeter, I would take the readings of a hand held gadget with a pinch of salt.

So the final verdict?

Can you really smell your own breath – not really.  Aside from number 1 – Ask someone – the other methods are not fool proof. So if you think you have bad breath, if you are too embarrassed to ask your friend, family member or partner, book an appointment with a Dentist or Hygienist. They are there to help.

If you want to understand more about bad breath, you may be interested in our blog post on What Does Bad Breath Smell Like which describes the different bad breath odours and their possible causes.

Don’t forget using the ProFresh Mouthwash routine gets rid of bad breath. Even if you don’t have breath issues, ProFresh will keep your mouth in great condition. Find out more about how ProFresh can help you maintain a superior oral care routine.

In this blog we ask

  • Why do I still have bad breath even though my oral hygiene is good?
  • Does my breath really smell bad?
  • What is bad breath?
  • What are the causes of persistent bad breath?

Why do I still have bad breath even though my oral hygiene is good?

Bad breath is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, yet it’s a subject that most people are too embarrassed to discuss or ask advice about. We all know that the best oral care routine involves brushing, flossing, tongue scraping and rinsing but what if you are already doing that and you still have bad breath – or think you still have bad breath.

Does my breath really smell bad?

Our first piece of advice would be – ask someone to smell your breath. I know this sounds like it’s the most excruciating thing you could do but you may not have bad breath – you may just have a bad taste in your mouth or if someone else has it you assume you have it too. You could ask your parent, best friend or partner. Lets face it, kids are quite honest about things like this so they are worth a try. Don’t ask if you’ve just brushed your teeth, used mouthwash or eaten/had a strong tasting drink, just ask spontaneously. If you are told your breath does smell a bit whiffy, read on.

What is bad breath?

Bad breath also known as halitosis is a condition where your breath has a bad or odd smell to it. If someone is sitting very close to you, you should be able to just feel the warmth of their breath not smell anything. Bad breath can be an embarrassing condition and can cause anxiety in social, intimate and work situations. Some people even avoid getting into a lift if they think their breath smells bad.  Poor oral hygiene more often than not is the cause of halitosis but if you think your oral care routine is very good then there are causes of bad breath.

What are the causes of persistent bad breath?

  • Food stuck between teeth or inside mouth. You’ve been told by your dentist or hygienist many times that you need to floss every day. We may think we have removed every food particle from the mouth or between the teeth, but the chances are there are still some food particles lingering around somewhere. As these particles break down they release sulphur compounds which release a smell into your mouth and out through your breath. The gaps between each tooth will differ and therefore you need the right equipment. You could try Wisdom Clean Between Flossers or Wisdoms Interdental Brushes which are available in different sizes to enable you to floss between each tooth effectively. Drinking water after a meal is a good idea, give the water a good slosh around in your mouth before swallowing, this will help get rid of a lot of the main food particles.
  • Gum Disease – You may have a super oral care routine but sometimes with the best will in the world, you can still end up with gum disease. If your gums are red or inflamed, this is often a sign of gum disease and your gums will become a breeding ground for bacteria that cause bad breath. If you think you may have gum disease, please visit your Dentist or Dental Hygienist where you can get professional advice. In the meantime, use an alcohol-free mouthwash such as ProFresh to keep your mouth in good condition.
  • Dry Mouth – A reason why we suggested an alcohol-free mouthwash in the paragraph above is that alcohol is not only an irritant but it can also dry your mouth out causing bad breath or making existing bad breath worse. A dry mouth does have an official name – xerostomia – and this can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Saliva is our body’s natural cleaning process for the mouth and rinses away bacteria and food particles and if there is not enough saliva – then bad breath rears its ugly head. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medication so it is worth mentioning to your GP if that’s the case.
  • Sinus Infections and Issues – Sinus infections can cause post-nasal drip (dripping down the back of your throat – into your throat or onto the back of your tongue) and other respiratory issues. Bad breath isn’t always caused by an issue in the mouth and infection in your sinuses can cause foul smelling breath from the mouth. Post nasal drip (mucus) can sit on the back of the tongue and food particles can get stuck to it and that will attract bacteria. With persistent sinus infections it is worth visiting your GP surgery. In the meantime use a Tongue Scraper to ensure you tongue is clear.
  • Other Health Factors and Diseases – Bad breath can sometimes be a symptom of other underlying health issues. Diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, liver or kidney problems can produce a particular odour that can be smelt on the breath. For a breakdown of the different types of smells of bad breath and their possible meaning, read our last article on What Does Bad Breath Smell Like?

To ensure your oral care routine is the best in can be read our How to Use article which gives you step by step instructions on how to get the best out of your oral care routine and products.

What does bad breath smell like?

Halitosis – more commonly known as bad breath smells differently depending on the cause. It’s difficult to know whether your own breath smells or not, we can sometimes tell by the taste in our mouths. Hopefully you have a really honest friend or family member that you can ask. You might find your breath doesn’t smell at all!

We have researched the various odours that can occur and described them below and suggested some solutions:

Faeces or Poo-like

There could be issues with the digestive system. Are you constipated or do you have any bowel issues? IBS or other digestive problems? It may be worth speaking to your Nurse or GP.

Rotten eggs or sulphur

This is bad breath caused by the breakdown of proteins by bacteria in the mouth. It is quite common. The sulphur compounds in your mouth such as hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan leads to this eggy smell. Unfortunately there are many foods that can cause this rotten smell and they include, garlic, onions, egg, cruciferous veg (broccoli, cabbage etc), high protein meat and fish, coffee and alcohol.

We clearly can’t stop eating these foods as they are good for us (well aside from the alcohol) so if we are aware they can cause an eggy smell from your mouth, you can use ProFresh Mouthwash after eating them and then brush your teeth if it is convenient to do so.

Mouldy or musty

These type of smells could mean you have sinus issues/infection or that you have respiratory issues. If you think this could be the case, then again, please consult your GP. I have personally smelt this on a couple of people who have respiratory issues and it’s not pleasant.

Acidic or sour

This may indicate issues such as acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) where stomach acids flow back up into the mouth and esophagus. You can prevent acid reflux by maintaining a healthy weight, avoid certain foods like spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol. Make sure your portion sizes are smaller and you don’t eat anything for a few hours before bed.

Sweet or fruity

Has been described as a smell similar to pear drops, the sweets we may have eaten as children. There are a few reasons for this smell – a high protein, low carb diet, fasting and some mouthwashes which containing sweeteners or fruity flavours.  This smell can also be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis where the body products high levels of bloods acids called ketones so please bear that in mind. My midwife smelt this on me during my pregnancy. All was ok, but they kept a close eye on me.   

Chemical smell

Some drugs or medications can make the breath smell similar to chemicals. Some prescription drugs cause a dry mouth which can cause bad breath – saliva has bad breath fighting properties so it’s important to practice good hygiene but of course speak to your local pharmacist or GP if you are concerned.

Antibiotics for example, though are great at fighting infection can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the mouth leading to an overgrowth which causes bad breath. Again, ensure your oral hygiene is excellent at all times, particularly when taking medicines.

Bad breath can be an annoying side effect of your diet but could also indicate a health issue. Please do speak to your Dentist, Oral Hygienist or GP if you have concerns.

One question we are often asked is how do you prevent or get rid of bad breath that is caused by eating strong smelling or spicy foods?

Firstly we need to understand why spicy foods can cause odourous breath. Foods like onion, garlic and spices can stick to the tongue and as we swallow them the chemicals from these strong smelling foods enter our bloodstream and we breathe them out through our lungs and sweat them out from our pores.

Some people suggest eating dairy foods such as sour cream or drinking milk to get rid of the taste and smell but personally I think it’s great to use dairy to use as a cooling effect for spicy foods but for me, dairy makes bad breath worse (though this might not be the case for everyone). So what do you do?

Spicy and odourous foods are fine if you aren’t seeing anyone the same evening or next day but we often are and although we won’t be able to smell our own breath ourselves, others can.

What foods tend to be the culprits for causing smelly breath?

Dairy, garlic, onion, coffee, citrus foods and canned tuna are the worst culprits for smelly breath. We don’t want to stop eating these foods but need to understand how to get rid of the smelly breath that comes afterwards.

What can you do to prevent bad breath after eating certain foods?

It’s been suggested that you should brush and floss your teeth straight after eating these strong smelling and tasting foods. Firstly, brushing your teeth after acidic or spicy foods is not recommended. You won’t be carrying a toothbrush around with you anyway and also, the acid that is in the acidic and spicy foods will destroy the enamel on your teeth if you brush too soon after eating them.

Parsley is a natural breath freshener and can mask or neutralise bad breath caused by these foods. Chewing it after or eating with your meal has benefits.

We suggest drinking (preferably) water during and particularly after the meal to rinse the spices from your mouth and tongue. If you are out on a date, firstly if both of you have eaten spicy foods, that’s fine! If its only you, drink water and rinse and slosh the water round in your mouth if you can before you swallow (without making it obvious). Then you could keep a tongue scraper in your pocket or a mini bottle of the ProFresh mouthwash. Head to the bathroom and scrape your tongue and the sides of the inside of your cheeks and spray your tongue, the sides of your mouth and the back of your mouth with ProFresh.  Don’t brush your teeth for at least half an hour after eating spicy or acidic foods.

If you can still smell or taste the spices the next morning, do the full ProFresh routine (rinse, scrape, rinse and brush teeth), keep sipping water and that should keep the worse of the food breath at bay.

Bad Breath isn’t life or death so why do so many people worry if they have it?

There are several reasons for worrying about bad breath.

Social and Personal

Bad breath can be socially embarrassing as sufferers may fear that others can smell their unpleasant breath. This can lead to self-consciousness, low self-esteem and anxiety in social situations. People don’t want to be judged by their breath and may avoid socialising often or stop altogether which is far from ideal.


Naturally following on from social and personal – if a person feels self-conscious of their breath, they may stop engaging in close conversations with friends, family or work colleagues.  They may also avoid intimate conversations or situations in the fear that they put the other person off with their breath.

Professional Impact

A person can be professional, look smart but if they have bad breath they will dread meetings, conferences, interviews, even dread getting in lifts. Anywhere where you have to stand close enough for someone else to smell your breath will cause anxiety for a bad breath sufferer. This could end up being detrimental to their career or at the very least won’t allow them to enjoy work.

Dental Health and Hygiene

Bad breath can be a symptom of poor oral hygiene or dental issues. It could be a symptom of tooth decay, gum disease or an infection. All these issues MUST be treated. Of course bad breath could be down to something as simple as not drinking enough water, eating smelly foods like onion or garlic but if bad breath is there without eating spicy foods, then you must seek advice from your Dentist.

Systemic Health Issues

Bad breath cause also be a symptom of other issues going on in the body for example, respiratory infections, digestive disorders and chronic illness.

Bad breath is often overlooked as a cosmetic issue and that is why many oral care products are classed as cosmetics but this is wrong. Most of the time bad breath is caused by a minor issue but don’t ignore it, your breath is telling you something.

How can you help yourself?

Please have regular dental check ups and hygienist appointments and in-between these appointments ensure that you are doing your bit at home – brushing at least twice a day, flossing, tongue scraping and using an effective mouthwash. Drink plenty of water and if you think you are susceptible to bad breath, then avoid spicy foods and alcohol (which dries the mouth out) and visit your dental clinic.

Flossing is now even easier!

Do you floss every day? This is usually one of the first questions that Dentists ask when you visit them. I have always found interdental brushes to be very effective. One brand in particular has dominated our shelves and the price has always been quite high but now Wisdom have launched their new range of Wisdom Proflex Interdental Brushes and at only £1.95 for 5 and £5.85 for 25 they are less expensive but very good quality. We have them in every brush size and small and large packs. 

Wisdom Pro Flex Interdental Brushes have a unique flexible handle designed to reduce the potential of wire breakage, giving longer lasting performance. The curved shape of the handle helps to improve access to difficult to reach areas at the back of the mouth. 

Why Floss?

  • Removes plaque and food particles
  • Prevents gum disease
  • Prevents cavities
  • Promotes fresh breath
  • Reduces the risk of tooth decay
  • Preserves tooth structure

Top Tip!

Rinse your Wisdom Brush in ProFresh Mouthwash between flossing each tooth. It not only rinses and cleans the brush but enbles ProFresh to get between the gaps in your teeth. 

Can other people smell my bad breath?

Yes, chances are, if you can taste your bad breath, then other people can often smell your bad breath too, especially if it is strong or persistent.

The signs that someone else can smell your breath are they may touch their nose, stand back or turn their head away from you, offer you mints or gum. Some people may even be bold enough to tell you that you have bad breath!

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by a variety of reasons including:

Poor oral hygiene,
Certain foods,
Medical conditions, or medications.

When you have bad breath, it’s usually due to the release of foul-smelling sulphur compounds by bacteria in your mouth. Some bad breath sufferers turn to mints or minty mouthwash but sadly that’s not the answer.

ProFresh helps get rid of your bad breath and gives you the confidence to get up close.