DEAR HARRIETTE: I have never been someone to have bad breath -- at least as far as I know -- but the other day I was participating in a meeting with a small group of people, and I noticed that whenever I was speaking, they would hold their hands up to their noses. They tried to be discreet about it, but I figured it out after a while.
To be honest, my mouth didn’t taste fresh. I should have brushed my teeth again since my mouth didn’t seem clean, but I was rushing to get to this meeting, so I didn’t. I was mortified when I realized that they were covering their noses because of me. After that, I angled my mouth down and turned away while talking just so I wouldn’t disgust them. When I had a chance I went to the bathroom and rinsed my mouth. Should I have done anything else? I was so embarrassed. -- Bad Breath
DEAR BAD BREATH: You probably consumed something the night before that didn’t move through your body efficiently. You should pay close attention in the coming days to see if halitosis affects you again. If so, you may want to get a medical checkup just to make sure that nothing more serious is going on. Bad breath can be an indicator of a medical condition.
Since you believe you didn’t brush your teeth well, make sure you are more conscientious about brushing, flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash in the future. As far as what you should do if faced with offensive bad breath in the future, pay attention to how others in close proximity react to you. You were wise to angle your mouth away from them so that you weren’t unwittingly directing your breath toward them. You might want to keep mints or antiseptic breath strips handy. They can help neutralize bad breath in the moment.