“I dumped my girlfriend, but didn’t tell her why.”

bad breath treatment from the taunton dental office of Mark R. Turner, DDS

The other day I was listening to a comedy podcast and heard a pretty uncomfortable story.  I don’t remember which podcast it was.  I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, so it’s easy to forget the source of these stories.

This particular podcast episode had 3 or 4 stand-up comedians discussing random topics.  The conversation eventually came around to the topic of past girlfriends.  All the comedians had a story, but one of the stories really stood out.  

His ex-girlfriend was great, except…

This one comedian described his ex-girlfriend in a very positive light.  She was beautiful.  She was smart.  She had a great personality.  And they got along very well.  Everything was great except for one thing—she had horrible breath.  

According to the story, he really tried to stick it out and ignore the problem, but he couldn’t take it anymore.  Long story short, he dumped her.  She asked him many times why, but he never gave her a straight answer.  He never mentioned a word about her bad breath during the whole relationship.  

To this day, she has no idea why he really dumped her.  According to him, he didn’t want to embarrass her by bringing it up.  Immature on his part?  I would say so, but I think, unfortunately, the story is emblematic of how too many people deal with the problem.    

Quick facts about bad breath (a.k.a. halitosis)

  • One in four individuals have persistent bad breath.
  • Bad breath “remains one of the biggest taboos of society.”
  • Most bad breath (90%) is caused by dental problems (tongue coating, gum disease, poor oral hygiene etc.).
  • Tongue coating is by far the biggest factor (get a tongue scraper!)

Two broad categories of bad breath

Bad breath caused by a health problem (examples)

  • Gum disease
  • Deep cavities
  • Tonsil infection
  • Diabetes

Bad breath NOT caused by a health problem (examples)

  • Food (onions, garlic, etc.)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Morning breath (this is considered normal)                      

“How do I get rid of my bad breath?”

  • Get a full dental exam
  • Have all dental problems treated (gum disease, cavities, etc.)
  • Step up your oral hygiene game
  • Electric toothbrush
  • “Brush” between your teeth (string floss, water flosser, or interdental brushes)
  • Brush your tongue, or even better, get a tongue scraper!
  • Mouthwash
  • Do all this stuff at least twice a day!

If you are still experiencing persistent bad breath after completing the above steps, then you will probably need to see a physician and/or specialists to assess possible health problems happening “outside the mouth”.  For example:

  • Ear/Nose/Throat issues
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
  • Hormonal changes
  • Liver problems
  • Lung issues  

If you are currently experiencing persistent bad breath, or just looking for a new dentist in the Taunton, MA area, go see Dr. Mark Turner.  He won’t dump you for having bad breath. 


Villa, Alessendro, DDS, PhD, MPH, “Bad Breath: What causes it and what to do about it”, Harvard Health Blog, 21 January 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/bad-breath-what-causes-it-and-what-to-do-about-it-2019012115803 

“Bad Breath”, Mayo Clinichttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/symptoms-causes/syc-20350922


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