5 September 2016

Breath


Three men I see regularly have bad breath. They are not close friends and so I don't think it is my place to let them know. It's hard to describe the aromas they breathe out and as far as I know "Smell-a-Blog" has not yet been invented. Let me just say that what they exhale reminds me of the gaseous odours that escape from my compost bin when I remove the lid. Think rotten vegetables and squiggly worms.

It is often hard to concentrate on what these three fellows are saying when their expressions are accompanied by oral flatulence. What is even more surprising is that two of them  have wives  and the third has a male "partner". Why aren't these people whispering in their ears?

I guess that everybody suffers from temporary bad breath once in a while. Garlic and cigarettes are common culprits but the three gentlemen I am talking about have permanent bad breath. It is most disconcerting.

I recall the early eighties when I was a member of staff in a big secondary school on the southern edge of Sheffield. I had to register a teenage tutor group in one of the Religious Education classrooms. Normally this room was the teaching space of the head of R.E., an older fellow called Alan. Attached to the room was a little office containing a telephone that I occasionally had to use.  This was something I never looked forward to simply because the mouthpiece of the phone was polluted with the foul odour of Alan's breath. Sometimes it made me retch.

Fortunately, most people I associate with exhale sweet or neutral smelling air but what about you dear visitor? What is your breath like? May I suggest  that you breathe out in the presence of a trusted friend or family member and ask for a truthful verdict. It might be best to brush your teeth beforehand but if there is an underlying issue with your breath, the odour will certainly overwhelm any lingering minty toothpaste smell. Perhaps you have been walking around with bad breath for years and nobody found the courage to tell you.

24 comments:

  1. Have you been tasted for diabetes?

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    1. I don't have bad breath but I know that certain bad breath smells may indicate diabetes. Shirley is a diabetes specialist.

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  2. Years ago when I was working in Brisbane the chap who used to do our product displays in the retail stores - in the particular departments and also in the store windows (I was working within the fashion industry at the time) suffered from halitosis - badly.

    One day he accidentally overheard myself and one of my co-workers discussing his problem. He'd walked in, unannounced, and was in the reception area and was there for a while before we realised he was.

    Even though there was embarrassment all around for a few minutes, I think our discussion and his overhearing it solved the problem of his problem! We had done him a favour. We'd not been mocking him...

    In the same job a couple of years later I had a young lass who worked for us...one of my roles within the company was office manageress.

    The young lass concerned had very bad body odour - very bad; offensive.

    We were dealing with clients every hour almost of every day...they visited our showrooms on buying trips etc.

    It got to the point I had to say something. I asked the girl (she was about 17 years old) to come into my office...and very quietly, gently and as kindly as I could, without making a huge song and dance about it, I explained the problem to her. I didn't want to embarrass or hurt the kid but someone had to say something. And, as no one else was prepared to do so, other than talk behind her back, I stepped up.

    She didn't come into work the following day...and I understood why. But from then on, there was no problem. She'd handled and rectified the situation.

    It baffled me then...and it still does when I think about it...why her family didn't say something. Perhaps they were all like that...and she was the first one to break the pattern.

    Sometimes one has to speak up...even if it is difficult to do.

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    1. I guess you were motivated to speak to that girl because her BO may well have impacted on customer service. I would like to think that if the odour bearer was a real friend or family member then I would also speak up.

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    2. Yes, that was one of reasons, Yorkie...her having to attend to customers who visited our showrooms and offices; but also for her own sake.

      She was a young girl starting out in life and I felt it wrong for her problem not to be brought to her attention. I would have hoped if someone would've taken enough notice and cared enough about me if the shoe was on the other foot. (My mother, grandmother and brother would've soon told me...long before I'd walked out our door)!

      It was obvious no one else was prepared to say anything to her (including her family).

      It was an awkward few minutes, I guess...for her and for me...but I'm sure after the initial embarrassment on her part had disappeared she was grateful. She certainly did change her hygiene habits afterwards...so the result was positive. :)

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  3. I think many people will have experienced what you describe. You're also right that often the person doesn't realize they have bad breath.

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    1. You had best ask the micro-manager to check your breath Red. Perhaps she has been suffering it in silence throughout your marriage.

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    2. I would not have to ask her. She offers opinions automatically and I ignore them automatically!

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  4. A visit to the dentist sometimes helps. The mask the dentist wears is a two way street - it's as much protection for the dentist as it is for the patient...

    Alphie

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    1. Ha-ha! I recall a dentist I visited when I was a boy. Awful breath and no mask - he put patients under with his personal gas supply.

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  5. This is a pet peeve of mine--bad breath. Usually chronic bad breath seems to be the result of poor dental hygiene. I make sure to not only brush but to floss daily, and I have my teeth cleaned twice a year. When I have to talk to customers at work, I'm also careful to avoid garlic and onions. I like to be as considerate as I wish others were!

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    1. Perhaps face masks should be provided for any co-workers with bad breath. The company logo could be emblazoned across these masks.

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  6. [Comment deleted and rewritten because of too many typos, sorry!]

    As you all know, the problem is not always in the mouth (due to lack of dental hygiene or because of certain foods) but can also be a symtpom of stomach problems or other issues.
    It is very, very difficult to tell someone, but sometimes it gets so bad there is no other choice, especially if it is someone at work whom you can not avoid getting close to.

    Years ago, at the computer hardware selling company I was working then, we had a colleague who was the classic Nerd - not the cool, sexy type that has become popular in recent years, but the old-fashioned nerdy type who really is unaware of his surroundings as long as they are not computers.
    This man was only a little older than I, but looked like 50+ (I was not yet 40). He had always greasy hair and his jumpers and shirts were the same for WEEKS on end, showing the stains of many meals and smelling of old sweat. He was given the desk oppositve mine, and I could only bear working when the window was open and I used a strongly scented room spray (something I usually don't like at all).
    I and a few other ladies at work spoke to our boss, and he called him in his office. I imagine the conversation must have gone similar to what Lee describes in her comment.
    Mr. Smelly Nerd was in fresh clothes and smelled "normal" for one or two weeks... before it all happened again. He simply forgot to wash or shower, and to change his clothes, until someone reminded him of it. Our boss spoke to him again, 3 times altogether, and it was always like that.
    This man was highly intelligent, had a degree and was good at his job, but unfit for daily life and social interaction. In hindsight, I think he had Asperger's.

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    1. Ugh! That must have been awful having to work close to him - especially in winter.

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  7. Recently I asked a friend if she would tell me if I had bad breath. She was horrified at the thought and assured me that I did not. It took a while to convince her that because I have no wife nor partner any more it was up to my close friends to tell me about such things. Fortunately I do have friends who wouldn't hesitate to tell me about any such matter or annoying habits I have. I like friends like that. Indeed, many years ago, my life was saved and altered irrevocably for the better by a close friend at the risk of alienating me for ever. In fact it gave us a bond nothing will ever shake.

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    1. The incident you refer to at the end of this comment sounds intriguing. Could you possibly explain or perhaps blog about it over at "Eagleton Notes"?

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    2. A bit to personal even for a non-private person like wot I am!

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    3. Oops....lost an 'o' somewhere along the typing /checking line.

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  8. I too know someone who fits into this category but I would not dream of telling him. Only the other day I read somewhere that it is one of the most difficult things to talk about YP.

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    1. Perhaps buying him a set of face masks for Christmas will provide the hint he needs... Oh I do hope it's not your bird-loving farmer!

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  9. LOL -- way to make us all paranoid, YP! Seriously, bad breath is an indicator of an underlying health issue -- often bad gums or periodontal disease, or "tonsil stones." I would tell Dave if he had bad breath (and he is strangely worried about it all the time, even though it's never seemed bad to me). The thought of someone having bad breath severe enough to poison a telephone is mind-bending! (And stomach-turning!)

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    1. What if you and Dave have the same breath? If so, you wouldn't be able to detect any foulness. In my experience, the majority of librarians suffer from dragon breath so I suggest that you exhale in the faces of your co-workers and ask for their verdicts.

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  10. Luckily this is not something I have run up against for many years Y P. I think it is sign of physical or dental health....and as for body odour - a special hazard in a climate like ours - kids seem to be very aware of these things from a very early age these days so it is a problem that seems to be dying out too. Thank Heavens !

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    1. Wearing clothes pegs to pinch the nostrils can also be helpful.

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