How can I test my own breath?
Good question. It is impossible to smell your own breath by cupping your hand up to your nose and smelling. All you do is smell your hand.
Your body is designed in such a manner, that you cannot detect your own odor this way. It’s a human process called acclimation, which is necessary so that we are able to smell other things besides ourselves.
There are 2 ways to check if your breath is offensive:
1. At the California Breath Clinics, through the use of the Halimeter, which measures the concentration of sulfides in your breath.
2. A few quick home tests, which will give you a good indication if your breath offends – and costs you nothing (not as accurate as 1 and 2 above). Here they are:
Here are a few good ways to test your own breath at home:
1. Wipe the top surface of your tongue with a piece of cotton gauze and smell that. (That’s probably the most honest way.) Furthermore, if you notice a yellowish stain on the cotton, it’s likely that you have an elevated sulfide production level.
2. Lick the back of your hand. Let that dry for about 10 seconds and then smell. If you notice an odor, you have a breath disorder because the sulfur salts from your tongue have been transferred to your hand.
3. Run a piece of dental floss between your back teeth (especially where you may get food caught) and then smell the floss. This may be an indication of the level of odors others may detect.
4. Stand in front of the mirror and stick your tongue out as far as possible. If you notice that the very back of your tongue is whitish, it may be a sign that you have bad breath. Also, you can judge the reaction from others. Our patients tell us that they are no longer offered gum and mints and people no longer step away from them. It has significantly changed their confidence and improved their lives.
5. Ask the opinion of someone you can trust. Ask them to check your breath several times daily because breath changes throughout the day.
6. If certain foods alter your taste, it is a good sign that sulfur compounds are being produced. This usually happens after using alcohol-based mouthwashes, eating dairy foods, drinking alcoholic beverages, or after eating sugary products (Altoids, candy, Pepsi, etc.)
If any of the tests above prove positive (you notice an offensive odor or taste, you may want to answer our clinical questionnaire, which will further assist you in your search for fresh breath and taste).
7. Of course, as I mentioned before, there are more accurate methods, the most accurate being the Halimeter. This is an instrument which measures the concentration of Sulfide molecules in one’s breath and/or saliva. The border line number for fresh breath vs. bad breath is about 75 ppb (parts per billion) according to Dr. Yaegaki who published the definitive article on these values. In our clinics, we have used these guidelines on thousands of patients. We have also demonstrated the use of this sensitive instrument on TV stations across the US, Europe, and Asia.