It is never easy to tell your friend or loved one the bad news, their breath stinks. It can be, however, helpful to them if it is said in a more polite manner. Try to approach only if it is a reoccurring issue, no need to embarrass somebody over a single lunch choice. If this is a recurring issue, don’t ignore it and hope the problem goes away on its own. Here are some tips to politely tell somebody that they have got bad breath:

  • One-on-one — Someone is bound to feel embarrassed, so ease the blow by talking to them one-on-one, instead of telling them in front of other people.
  • Hints — The first time around, give yourself a mint or piece of gum and be sure to offer one.
  • Be gentle — Don’t insult, instead, make it relatable:
    • “I need to tell you something that I would want to know if it were me. Your breath doesn’t smell as fresh as it normally does, have you been aware of it?”
  • Recommendations — Help them solve the problem
    • Does the problem only occur every day in the afternoon, maybe after lunch? “I like to bring a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to work, so I can brush my teeth after lunch.”
    • Does it seem like more of a chronic problem? “You should speak with your dentist, I am sure they can help you determine the cause of the issue.”
  • Moving on — Change the subject to something light-hearted to ease the mood.

Following these guidelines will allow you to help your friend or loved one unknowingly suffering from bad breath. It is important to keep in mind that how you go about telling them, will make all the difference.  In the event that you make an attempt to tell somebody about their breath and you get any indication that they do not want to talk about it: pull back, apologize, and move on.