It’s a situation that has happened to us all.
A friend or relative comes close to talk to you, and when they open their mouth an odor comes pouring out that could knock out a racehorse from a mile away! But besides backing up a few feet and ending the conversation as soon as possible, what do you do?

Of course you could just do nothing. But that is doing your friend a huge social disservice – and possibly not telling them of a negative health issue as well.

So how do you say something so uncomfortable to someone you care about? Here are two great answers we found while researching this question.

“As your friend, it’s important to me that we’re always able to say the things that are hard to say, because that’s what real friends do for each other. I’m not comfortable mentioning this, though if it were me, I’d certainly want someone to say something. I don’t know if you’re aware – but sometimes your breath is quite noticeable. I read somewhere that this can be the result of a dental or medical problem, so I felt it was important to tell you.”

Or how about this one:

“I just wanted to let you know that you’re just like me — we occasionally have bad breath! Here’s what I’ve found that helps.” Then give them mints, gum, or mouthwash. Then add, “The only reason I’m telling you this is that someone once told me the same thing and I realized how much it helped me. Fortunately I was able to find a great dentist who helped me take care of the problem!”

Of course so many things can cause bad breath – all the way from pungent foods like onions and garlic all the way to serious illnesses such as pneumonia, diabetes, and liver or kidney ailments.

Some of the most common causes of bad breath, also known as halitosis, are seen every day in our Bryn Mawr dental office. Here are some examples:

• Dry mouth (which can be caused by many common medications, mouth breathing, or lack of saliva flow
• Gum disease – this normally does not hurt or have obvious symptoms, but is extremely common and can cause unnecessary tooth loss
• Cavities or ill-fitting dental restorations such as fillings and crowns
• Poorly fitting dentures
• Improper cleaning of the tongue, teeth and gums
• Sinus infections
• Gastric reflux

Whether it’s you or someone else you are concerned about, even periodic bad breath warrants a visit to the dentist. Usually the solution is a simple one, and it is just about always one that brings about better health as well.

A few years ago there were places that were opening calling themselves “Fresh Breath Centers”. They would actually measure the volatile sulfur compounds that were usually the cause of the halitosis on a ‘Halimeter’, and 95% of their patients were treated with a Chlorine DiOxide rinse (we use Closys- a rename from the original product Retardex, can you believe some genius came up with that name?).

So feel free to carry gum, breath mints, or small bottles of mouthwash with you wherever you go, either for you or to help (and drop a hint) to a breath-challenged friend, but if it is a chronic problem they are going to need more help than just that! But please remember, a dental evaluation is always the best move when bad breath is around!

At Dillon Family Dentistry, our goal is to keep you as healthy as possible at all times. Whether it is an issue with bad breath, beautifying your smile, or anything else, we are here to help you! Please give us a call at 610-510-8197 for an appointment or visit us on the web at Our range of expertise includes everything from dental implants to teeth whitening services. Let’s make sure that every conversation you or your friends have feels like a breath of fresh air!