Checking your Breath Isnít as Simple as Breathing into your Cupped Hands
You might have really bad breath (also known as Halitosis) and not even know it. And believe it or not, it is not possible to smell your breath by cupping your hand, breathing into it then smelling. All you are really doing is smelling your hand. That's because homo-sapiens are wired in a way that makes it impossible to smell your own breath - it is a process referred to as Acclimation. Acclimation is necessary, because without this feature, our sense of smell would be permanently clouded by our own odors and scents.
You can smell your breath in a whole different number of ways, and most can be performed at home. The most meticulous method of halitosis checking is one that cannot be done at home. You will need to visit a clinic that features in bad breath and oral problems and they will use a Halimeter to gauge the level of sulfides that exist in your mouth.
Why Sulfides? Sulfides are arguably the root cause of halitosis. Everyone has the same bacteria in their mouth, and the bacteria that we have in our mouths need to be there. The bacteria in our mouths serve a purpose - they break proteins that are found especially in the foods we eat, but also in mucous, blood and decaying oral tissue. But for some people, the bacteria behaves differently with these proteins and the culminating factor is known as "volatile sulfur compounds" (VSC). These sulfur compounds, also known as Sulfides, produce the odor.
Following are a number of methods for investigating your breath at home. They are quite easy and in no way are they as compelling as using the Halimeter, but they can give you a very good idea on just how bad your breath is.
If you ask someone you trust to check your breath, you will know very quickly and accurately if your breath is bad. Tell them that you want a 100% sincere answer, and get them to check your breath at differing times of the day, because there will be some fluctuations.
Simply wiping a piece of cotton gauze on your tongue and then inspecting it for coloration and smell is also a very simple and effective test for bad breath. If you sense an odor then you're more foreseeable a bad breath sufferer. And, if you notice a yellow/brown decoloration on the gauze, you have undoubtedly got a heightened level of sulfides and are very likely to have extreme halitosis.
The next method involve licking the back of your hand to check for bad breath, so you might want to make sure too many people aren't watching - they might think you're crazy. The process is simple - just lick the back of your hand and let it dry for 10-15 seconds - then smell it. If there is an odor present, then you've got halitosis. The justification for this is simple. When you lick the back of your hand, the sulfides travel from your tongue to your hand.
Using dental floss or tape can tell you in a matter of seconds if you have bad breath. In fact, it not only gives you an indication of whether your breath wreaks, but it can give you a clear plan on how to shake off the smell too. That is, floss your teeth, paying absolute attention to the rear teeth, then smell the floss - if you pull out chunks of food and they smell, then you'll know right away that your breath won't be too pleasant, and you will also get a quick acceptance of the fact that if you keep on flossing you might just get rid of the bad breath.
The simple tongue-coloration test doesn't specifically involve smelling anything, but it can give some very good insight into your halitosis problem. All you need to do is stand in front of a mirror and extend your tongue out as far as you comfortably can. What you are looking for is if there is any coloration, like white or yellow/brown, and if there is, then it is probable that you have a build-up of sulfides and as a result you'll have halitosis.
The abovementioned examples are testament to the fact that there is more than one method you can use to test for bad breath. But you do need to take account of the fact that these methods in no way compare to the effectiveness of using a specialized tool like a Halimeter. Additionally, Gum, Breath mints, breath strips and mouthwash are NOT the answer. They are just part of a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry which provides a very short 'mask' for the real cause. The real answer to solving the bad breath problem is to minimize the concentration of sulfides that exist in your mouth. Do this and people will stop offering you mints and breath strips, and they will most likely carry on longer conversations with you.
About the Author: Halitosis, or plain old bad breath, is more embarrassing than a health issue. Using Mouth wash, brushing your teeth, tongue cleaning and flossing play a major role in Curing halitosis. Visit http://www.badbreath-halitosis.info for indepth articles and useful bad breath information.