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How to Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath

Knowing how to tell someone that they have bad breath will help you avoid an awkward situation.

Bad breath is just no fun. If you have bad breath, you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk freely with friends, co-workers and loved ones. And if you know someone who has bad breath, it can be awkward to confront them about it.

The good news is your dentist or physician can help with bad breath remedies since bad breath often stems from dental problems such as gum disease or health conditions such as liver disease. The bad news is it can be more difficult to get help if you want to tell someone they have bad breath but don't know how.

Depending on your situation, it may be worth it to just let it go. But if you feel comfortable trying a few techniques on how to tell someone they have bad breath without hurting their feelings or severing your relationship, the tips below may be perfect for you!

How to Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath

Be considerate. Bad breath is a delicate subject, so it's important to approach your friend, co-worker or loved one with respect and sensitivity. Refrain from teasing or joking, and avoid just blurting out "You have bad breath!" While some people may respond well to a candid approach, others may not. To be safe, broach the subject casually by saying neutral things like "I noticed a problem and wasn't sure if you're aware" or "I noticed a problem and want to make sure you're ok."

Talk in private. If you've noticed someone has bad breath, chances are that others have noticed, too. But that doesn't mean you should talk about it in front of other people! Instead, be sure to find somewhere private to talk -- like while driving in a car or during a walk.

Send a bad breath e-card. There are many websites that allow you to send an anonymous e-card to tell someone they have bad breath. Some are cute and humorous, others are thoughtful and caring. This may be one of the easiest ways to tell someone they have bad breath if you feel awkward talking one-on-one!

Reveal what you do to fight bad breath. Even if bad breath isn't a chronic problem for you, you may have some of your own bad breath remedies that you turn to now and then. Talking casually about what you do for bad breath -- whether it's brushing your tongue after meals or using Breath Rx® -- can help someone else open up about their own condition.


If these methods are still too direct for you, there are more subtle ways to clear the air. You can offer up a sugar-free breath mint or stick of gum at every opportunity possible or anonymously leave a pack in your friend's purse, car or desk drawer. You can also anonymously send the person a bad breath kit consisting of a toothbrush, tongue brush, floss and alcohol-free mouthwash. If the culprit is a co-worker with whom you're friendly but not close, consider raising the subject with someone who is a good friend of theirs.

Don't forget to take care of your own oral health, too! If you're looking for a great dentist in your area, we can help you find one!

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