DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who used to work with me, and I ran into him the other day. He has terrible bad breath. I find it so strange because otherwise he is a super neat and clean guy. He's a gym rat. He is super buff and pays close attention to himself. That's why I just don't get it. I don't have a clue as to how to address this with him. It's such a personal issue, and I don't know how to approach him about it. Should I say something or just leave it alone? -- Halitosis Alert, Racine, Wisconsin
DEAR HALITOSIS ALERT: Dealing with bad breath seems to be an ongoing issue for so many people. I have spoken to several dentists and medical doctors over the years about it, and they typically come up with the same points. Halitosis can be caused by a variety of issues, including everything from not brushing your teeth well enough to periodontal disease to more concerning diseases within the body.
Because this condition could be a sign of a serious health concern, it could be worth mentioning to your friend. If you feel close enough to him to make the effort, start out by telling him you want to talk about a very personal subject. Ask for his permission to proceed. If he agrees, tell him that you have noticed over the years that he sometimes had a sour smell on his breath, and you want to suggest that he check it out in case it is a sign of something serious. Leave it at that.