How To Know If You Have Bad Breath

Whether you're out on a date, hanging out with friends, or dealing with coworkers or business partners, learning how to know if you have bad breath is an essential tool for your social life. Like bad manners or foul body odor, bad breath is a repulsive trait that creates a lasting and negative impression of you with others. 

Some tools you will need to tell if you have bad breath include:

  • A plastic disposable spoon

  • A Halimeter

  • A close confidante

  1. Ask someone you know and trust. This is the most effective way to know if you have bad breath. The look on their faces, if not their verbal response, is a dead giveaway.
  2. Try the back of your wrist. If you're out and about, try surreptitiously licking the back of your wrist, letting the saliva dry for a minute or so, and then smelling it to see if there's an unpleasant odor. This means of detecting bad breath may yield a stronger odor than is actually present in your breath. That only means if it doesn't smell bad on the back of your wrist, then your breath probably doesn't have a foul odor.
  3. Use a spoon. Another way of knowing if you have bad breath involves using a plastic disposable spoon to scrape the back of your tongue, then smelling the drying residue.
  4. Try a Halimeter. Otherwise known as a portable sulfide monitor, a Halimeter can detect bacteria that cause chronic bad breath, otherwise known as chronic halitosis. Typically these devices are used by a dentist.


Bad breath can be a sign of other illnesses or even dental conditions. If the problem persists then consider seeing your dentist.


Medline Plus

American Dental Association



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