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Bad breath, or halitosis, is something no one likes to think they have. It can be incredibly upsetting to know that others share a common thought about any aspect of your appearance but breath might be one of the worst. Because it arouses others’ sense of smell it can cause them to act differently around us or take away their attention from what where we want it.

Unfortunately with bad breath is that it can occur even when we’ve brushed thoroughly, as a result of what we’ve just eaten, which we might not have planned to. It can also linger from the night before. So below we’ve outline the 5 occasions when you’re likely to be in close-proximity with another person or people, so you can plan ahead for these (or at least keep mints closeby).

1: The Office

This is an obvious one but halitosis can occur over the day, including lunch and multiple cups of coffee. When in a small environment like an office, you don’t want to be known for having bad breath either and have people talk about you behind your back. If you supervise anyone and have to speak to them over their shoulder or one-to-one also beware of your breath; if you’re their boss or supervisor, you don’t want to give them anything (or more) to resent you for. You can’t always plan when you’re going to come into contact with clients or associates. Business lunches can involve lavish lunches with exotic but smelly food, consisting of garlic and spices. If you work in sales, presentation is everything and breath can smell stale if you are talking all day. This is especially important in the glamourous world of hospitality or promotions where image is what you’re selling. The same can be said if you’re the face of a business, like a secretary.

2: Hairdressers/Barbers

One that few think of until it’s too late and you’re in the chair. Lots of small talk or full on chatter means your mouth will get quite dry and may give off a few odours; if there’s loud noise from hairdriers and music, your stylist will probably come closer to hear you or discuss what you want done. Hairdressers will come in very close proximity when doing the sides of your hair with a razor as well. If you’re someone resisting the urge to move or feel a bit ticklish when they do your neck, you may be breathing extra hard. For the women who spend a few hours having their roots done, that can equate to quite a few cups of coffee or tea, so perhaps consider sticking to water.

3: Teachers

If you’re a teacher you probably a have a nickname amongst your students, if even if you don’t know it. It might actually be a positive one with no alternative motive or terrible meaning. However, you don’t want to tempt them to come up with something worse, so ensure your breath is always fresh. You can be talking for up to an hour or more for each lesson, six times a day so your breath can go stale. The teacher’s friend of a cup of coffee to get them through the day also won’t help. Plus, you’ll come into close contact with your students when speaking one-on-one especially if you’re looking over their work.

4: Parents’ Evening

This might apply to the point above but it can also if you’re the parent attending your child’s Parents’ Evening. Again, you want to illustrate a healthy and happy homelife and do well by your child, without showing them up (you can save that with the cheesy jokes). You’ll be in close contact speaking with many teachers that evening as well as partaking in any nibbles which will be provided. If you’re the teacher, you want to represent the school well and you don’t want to be known as the teacher with the bad breath in your students’ homes.

5: Dentist

A bit like combing your hair when going to the hairdressers, if you’re going to visit your dentist, they’ll be looking for signs and evidence that you’re doing what you should be. Breath will be one important indicator that can be identify whether you’ve been brushing regularly and flossing. Bits of old food which have been caught between teeth can give off a bad smell. You might even be visiting the dentist because of bad breath as it can be an indicator that you’re doing something wrong, or that there is a bacterial or gum problem.

6: Doctor

Like dentists, doctors might use any signs of halitosis as an indicator of a bigger problem, like in your stomach. However, spare a thought for them when you go for any kind of check-up. They’ll likely look down your throat for common problems like sore throats, laryngitis or simply to check that everything is functioning as it should. It’s also another scenario when you’re in close contact with someone which can be forgotten when we’re not feeling or looking our best.

If you may run into these circumstances in the near future or daily, then consider keeping things at the office and in the car with you so you can quickly get rid of halitosis. This could include chewing gum, though these might leave funny tastes. Some keep a spare toothbrush at the office, or incorporate natural remedies like cinnamon bark into cooking to counter meals which might leave odours on the breath (like Indian cuisine).

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Paul has been researching causes of and solutions to bad breath as part of his work with a client who offer natural remedies, like cinnamon supplements, for a range of problems. They’ve all proven handy for himself as he’s started work representing a company professionally.