Is it possible to test for bad breath effectively? Great question! It's true that eventually we get used to, or become acclimated to, the many odors our bodies produce. As a result, most of us are unable to smell our own breath.
But are there any exceptions to this rule?
Sure... but anyone who falls under one of the exceptions won't need the information contained in this article.
As I mentioned on Kiss Bad Breath Goodbye home, children can be brutally honest. Make sure you're in a non-threatening environment and just ask your child or grandchild. Ask how it smells right now and ask if the child has ever noticed that your breath smells bad. Be prepared for their response. It may seem harsh. Accept their response with emotional maturity. Welcome the child's feedback and thank them for it.
Another reliable way to test for bad breath is to ask an adult friend or relative, someone who cares about you very much and whom you trust implicitly. Ask the same questions: How does it smell right now? Does it ever smell bad? If the thought of doing this is too embarrassing, consider asking your dentist or dental hygienist.
If you really cannot bring yourself to ask someone else, there are ways to check privately. Keep in mind that when you use one of these methods, the level of reliability drops considerably.
One thing you can do is to lick something. Don't worry... It gets stranger. Select a flat surface, one that is relatively odor-free and sterile. Using as much of the full length of your tongue as possible, lick it. Allow some time for your saliva to dry. Now sniff the area you licked. You can also lick your arm or your hand, but be aware that odors from your skin or from chemicals on your skin (i.e., perfume, cologne, hand lotion) may affect your results.
Another way to test yourself in privacy is to use a cotton ball or small piece of gauze to wipe the coating off the back of your tongue. This is going to cause your gag reflex to kick in, so you may need to make several attempts to get a good sample. Set it aside for just a minute or two, then sniff it.
Finally, if you would like a professional to help you test for bad breath in the privacy of your own home, try our Free Online Breath Test.