Child…”Yes mom! Yes I have brushed my teeth!”
Parent…”Then why is your toothbrush still dry and your breath still smells?”
Have you had one of those conversations before?
We know as parents that it is up to us to teach our children how to take care of their oral health and we wouldn’t think twice to tell our child that they need to go and use some mouthwash if their breath smelled. But how do you handle it when it’s your friend, co-worker or boss?
Stress and a Co-Worker With Bad Breath
Have you ever had it where you have caught a whiff of your coworkers’ terrible breath. It can make it hard to concentrate on what they are saying or it may make you avoid being near your colleague.
According to a UltraDex One Go survey of 2,000 adults, about one in five admitted that they “can’t bear” to talk to one of their coworkers because of their bad breath. In fact, 63% said that they have had to turn away from someone during a conversation because of it.
That’s why, when doing a search on “bad breath and coworker”, you can find almost 2 million sites.
Bad Breath Facts:
Bad breath is caused by bacteria breaking foods down into sulphur compounds or by foods that contain a lot of sulphur compounds. It may indicate the need to clean the teeth and mouth more often and effectively, tooth or gum disease, or intestinal disorders. About 27% of the population will experience chronic halitosis – persistent, foul, odor emitted from the mouth and/or nose.
Most of these sites recommend that the upfront method works the best…tell the person that their breath smell today and offer them a piece of gum. You have given them a way out, by indicating that ‘today’ may mean that this is unusual or temporary and the gum lets them save face while they talk to you.
In a study by the Emily Post Institute, 75% of respondents polled said they’d want to be notified by a friend if they smelled. Only 15% of respondents said they would tell a friend if they had bad breath. Though we would prefer to hear that message from our friend, it’s probably easier to tell strangers they stink than our friends.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency and Celebrating National Fresh Breath Day:
Dealing With Your Co-Worker’s Bad Breath:
- Pick a private location
Speak to your colleague without anyone else around to overhear the conversation.
- Be sincere
If your colleague trusts that you are being sincere it is likely they will listen to your feedback and it will have the desired effect.
- Be direct
Being subtle by offering a mint or a piece of gum may be missed as a reflection on their breath. Be clear and specific about your observations and assessments.
- Don’t assume
Your colleague’s bad breath may be a result of a health condition that they don’t have control over.
Dealing With Your Own Bad Breath:
- Avoid the four categories of foods that can increase sulphur production and stimulate the bacteria are:
- Drying Agents – especially those that contain alcohol and cigarettes as the bacteria prefers a dry location
- Dense Protein foods – especially dairy, but sometimes beef, chicken, fish and beans
- Sugars – stay away from candies, mints and chewing gum if they contain sugar as this feeds the bacteria
- Acids – coffee, citrus juices – acids make the bacteria reproduce much faster
- Stimulate saliva production which is nature’s breath freshener using sugar-free mints
- Drink lots of water
- Scrape the back of your tongue
- If it is chronic, you need to talk to your dentist about solutions that can add more oxygen and prevent the odorous sulfide from being produced.
It is never easy to have these types of conversations with our colleagues. Consider how you would like to be spoken to in this situation and proceed accordingly. If you do this with sincerity, you will have likely done the right thing.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
Additional Resources On This Topic: