Fun Stuff: The Smell of Your Breath

As a Smelly Vagabond, I’ve always been curious what my own breath smells like. It’s easy enough to smell someone else’s breath, and we often complain when someone has bad breath. So why can’t we smell our own breath?It is common knowledge, and especially so for those of us with some measure of fascination with perfumes, that our brains become acclimatised to scents that we are continually exposed to. As an example of something that’s familiar to most of us, the initial smells we experience immediately after doing business tend to be unpleasant, but if we wait around in the toilet (because we’re reading a newspaper or book) for a longer period of time, we find that we can’t detect any unpleasant smells anymore. Yet the moment we open the door to the toilet, someone else who walks pass never fails to exclaim that the toilet stinks. This is a simple illustration of how  odour molecules continue to linger in the air, but we can’t detect them because we become acclimatised to them.

It’s the same thing with our breaths, I surmise. As I was curious to smell my own breath, I did some quick reading on the internet, and here’s what some of the sources threw up (pardon the pun):

  1. Lick-Your-Wrist method: Lick your wrist and wait for 10 seconds. Smell the spot you licked. If it’s stinky, your breath probably smells bad to someone else.
  2. Tongue-Scraping method: Use something to scrape your tongue, e.g. a spoon or toothpick (or your finger, if you don’t mind the lack of hygiene). You should be able to smell your breath on that object.
  3. Hand-Cupping method: Cup a hand over your mouth and breathe out. Then, breathe in rapidly through your nose. This method is rather ineffective, as my research shows (which is to say, I tried it out for myself). But there is a general consensus that it’s not a very reliable method.

So, what does The Smelly Vagabond‘s breath smell like? After numerous samples obtained from the Lick-Your-Wrist method, I’m glad to report that my breath smells like, well, saliva. But even this smell dissipates quickly, within around 15 seconds after first licking. I hope this means that I have normal breath. For those who do find that they have bad breath, the best way to go would probably be good dental hygiene. The main reason for bad breath would probably be bacteria that’s fermenting in your mouth (hence our breath smells worst in the morning when we first wake up, because saliva production slows down to almost zero). Mints and gum are stop-gap measures at best.

Or perhaps someone ought to invent a perfume that actually lasts in our mouths the same way it does on our skin? The drawback, as I see it, would be that the food we taste would pretty much taste the same as what goes into our mouths. But then again, if we get acclimatised to that perfumed mouth spray, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. These are but the rambling thoughts of one silly Vagabond.

What does your breath smell like? Would you wear a perfumed mouth spray? Feel free to comment and join in the smelly discussions.

~ The Smelly Vagabond

Further Readings
BreathMD
How to Tell if You Have Bad Breath
Web MD

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2 thoughts on “Fun Stuff: The Smell of Your Breath

  1. very interesting post. i dont want to know what my breath smells like, hence my large supply of Pro Health mouthwash. That or dont breathe too hard in someones face when you think your breath is questionable. lol . I think people would consider a perfumed mouth spray if it were available.

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