Waiting to Exhale

In this age of 21st century dental and gastroenterological advancements;  what possible reason could any gainfully employed person living in the western world have for stinking from their mouths like something 5 days dead?

Please don’t send cards and letters bemoaning my lack of sensitivity over obscure medical conditions sufferers of pernicious halitosis may or may not have. I just want people with rancid breath to stay out of my face.

Let’s look at the neighbourhood woman who insists on sitting with me on my new bus route to work every morning. She doesn’t eat breakfast until she gets to work so, although she is in full make-up and dressed and coiffed to the nines, she has left her house with morning breath.

No… “morning breath” is much too nice a term for it. “Morning breath” conjures up visions of honeymooning couples kissing and giggling over less than sparkling dental scents. This woman’s breath is putrid. Like some demon from hell invaded her esophagus during the night and is farting out centuries of an extremely poor diet.

Morning Breath is caused by an accumulation of biofilm on the tongue, teeth, gums and throat that has not been adequately cleaned away. This biofilm becomes invaded by opportunistic bacteria that can break down proteins and release smelly waste products called Volatile Sulphur Compounds. This whole process is accelerated during sleep due to the lack of new saliva produced. Sleep mimics an anaerobic situation.

Thank you Breeze Care (The United States Breath Clinic). Now, does Volatile Sulphur Compounds sound like something you should be breathing into someone’s face first thing in the morning?

Seriously. This woman talks non-stop and turns her head in my direction although it would be perfectly acceptable for her to keep her face turned toward the front of the bus. I’ve been pretending to have a cold all week so I can hold a tissue up to my nose so I don’t have to smell her. How long can this go on? Her breath literally makes my gorge rise. Yes, you read that correctly – my gorge. (If “gorge” is an old timey way of saying “breakfast”).

Then there are the people whose breath smells like poo – all the time. They need to include more fibre in their diets. It’s bad enough that I have to smell less constipated strangers’ poo in public toilets, I do not want to smell it from co-workers’, friends’ or anyone-else-who-gets-too-close- to-me’s breath.

Then there is a woman who works in a federal government office, in Ottawa, dealing with the public, whose mouth contains blackish-brownish-greenish stumps in place of teeth. A lot like this:


It’s the most revolting mouth thing I’ve seen outside of a film adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel. HER breath, without a word of exaggeration, will kill you from across the room. Literally. Fell you in your boots and/or Birkenstocks.  You will walk in. She will open her mouth. And you will die. A special envoy will be standing by to cart away your corpse.

The federal public service has a comprehensive dental plan for all employees. I will therefore go to my grave not understanding why this woman has this horror show going on in her mouth. It’s the most vile thing you will ever see or smell in your entire life. I guarantee it.

And then there are old people with dentures they stopped cleaning in 1967 to commemorate Canada’s Centennial. As if ya’ll didn’t carry around enough weird smells, old people. To top it off you have to let your dentures accumulate that white/grey film between and betwixt each tooth. It smells to high heaven, old people.  Ordinarily I love talking to you about young folks and rain bonnets and prices these days because, let’s face it, I’m  knocking on your chronological door. But geeze looo—eeeeze, drop those teeth into a vat of Polident every once in a while! Please.

Hey, I don’t really mind the occasional whiff of freshly-consumed garlic, beer, onions, fish, salami, whatever breath. I love onions and garlic and other pungent delicacies as much as the next guy/gal.  So I know there are times when I reek even though I obsessively brush my teeth after every thing I put in my mouth. (Shut. Up.)

So, at those times,  I make a point of not speaking directly into anyone’s face. (Except in the most intimate of circumstances when it doesn’t matter anymore because hot sweaty genitals trump slightly foody breath every time). However, I’ve found that the worse someone’s breath is, the more liable they are to invade your personal space. The more liable they are to never shut up. The more liable they are to do those big exhale things.

Yes, perhaps I have an especially sharp nose. (Not in the Wicked Witch of the West sense, but in the sense of having sharp reactions to smells). And maybe no one else cares about your horrid breath. But, dag-nabbit, this is MY blog and I want to complain about it.

So, go the dentist for a regular cleaning. Include whole grains, vegetables and psyllium in your diet, eat breakfast;  and for god’s sake, brush and floss your teeth regularly — especially in the morning.

Thank you.

32 responses to “Waiting to Exhale

  1. Jeez, it’s unfortunate we’re not all perfect like you. Why not offer breath mints or gum. Perhaps if you communicated directly to those who cause you discomfort, you might achieve some relief from them. Talk to people like you write your blog, and they’ll avoid you like the plague.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with you XUP. Its reasonable to complain about people who have no regard whatsoever for oral hygiene. We all have bad breath sometimes, but refusing to brush, floss and/or gargle at all?! How can people who are gainfully employed be that ignorant and lazy about their health?

  3. Most people with bad breath are blissfully unaware of their condition until people drop like flies before them, or a good-yet-willing-to-put-it-all-on-the-line friend takes them aside and has The Talk. God grant me a friend like that if I ever spontaneously start to rot from the inside out.

    Blackish-brownish-greenish stump woman is obviously excluded from this category. If yer teeth are rotting in your mouth, chances are good that your breath ain’t minty fresh. There must be an underlying medical condition, ’cause I can’t fathom deliberately allowing your teeth to be like that.

  4. Tom – You know, dude, you seem to take offense at every single freakin’ post I write, so I can’t for the life of me figure out why you keep reading the damn blog. I can only assume that this must be your best opportunity to vent your considerable spleen. If I wrote a poem about puppies and kittens and fluffy white clouds you’d call me a twisted sarcastic bitch.

    Hannah – Really! Or if you do choose to live like this, then at least respect other people’s personal space.

    Susan – I don’t know what the deal is with stump woman.Dentists can worth with pretty much anything these days. I’m thinking she’s terrified of the dentist, the toothbrush, toothpaste, and all crunchy fruits and vegetables. Who knows?

  5. God!!! That picture!!!! So early in the morning…. *shudder*

    I don’t eat breakfast until I get to work, but you can be damn sure I’ve brushed the hell out of my teeth before I leave the house…

    And Tom? Chill Dude!

  6. Argh! My eyes! Why is that person not dead from the germs?

    Timing is important, so you need to have your TicTacs ready and as soon as the bus lady says hello, you say brightly, “Would you like a TicTac?” as you take one yourself. Although, gum would be better to move the saliva and germs around. But then she’d probably spit it on the ground and I’d step in it.

    Remember the “Seinfeld” episode with George’s gym teacher who they said looked like he had baked beans on his teeth? I knew someone like that but I never found out what the problem was. Too chicken to ask.

  7. Why would you want to put the puppies and kittens into the clouds cause then they will get damp and cold and get that wet pet smell and you’ll hate them.

  8. Tom Sawyer, XUP does talk to people in person like she writes on her blog. She is not a hypocrite… that’s one of her many lovable qualities.

  9. Since my breath always smells like beer and cigarettes I NEVER EVER talk near people. If I am in a really loud place and actually have to speak into an ear, I make a good cup with my hand to keep my breath away from the person’s face, and then try to actually wave the air towards the back of their head after speaking. Of course when I’m in a really loud place, the person I am speaking to usually also has beer and cigarette breath. And yeah I do brush my teeth, but then I have another beer and a cigarette unless I am going to bed. I try to keep my breath away from people because while B&C breath isn’t exactly rancid, it’s hardly lemons and mint and I too have a sensitive nose and don’t want people breathing near me either.

    You know, Dad wore dentures and always brushed them with a toothbrush and toothpaste and then gargled with Listerine. I guess he was the exception.

  10. This is why it’s good to have gum or other breath mints on hand. Take one yourself and offer it to the other person. It’s a polite way to solve the problem. If they don’t accept, stab them with your pen. Either way, smelly converstation is over.

  11. Oh, XUP, please read THIS post at BOLO. Please, please, please! I laughed reading almost every sentence, so I’m sure it would be even better straight from the horse’s mouth.

    (Not that I’m calling you a horse.)

    (If you *were* a horse, I’m sure you’d *still* have lovely breath.)

  12. Jazz – The mouth — you don’t want to look, but you can’t tear your eyes away!!! And ya, Tom maybe should cut back on the caffiene

    Bandobras – How about pudding? Could I write a post about pudding that won’t offend Tom, do you think? (I’ll make it vanilla)

    Woodsy – Thanks for charging in on your white steed, Woodsy. I guess my love doesn’t radiate as well over the interwebby as it does in person!

    Geewits – I think most people clean their dentures properly — there are just a few that seem to forget. And beer and cigarettes are not the worst thing breath could smell of, especially if it’s fresh. You are extraordinarily considerate with your breath, Geewits.

    Mayopie – I think I might just go straight for the pen. I don’t chew gum and hate it when other people chew gum near me. It makes me want to stab them with a pen. So you see my dilemma? Also, I don’t want to eat candy in the morning just on the off-chance that stinky will have one, too, especially when that will only make her breath smell putrid with hint of mint. Ergo – stabbing. Thanks for the idea.

    Amy – Ha ha. I’ve kind of already decided what to read, but I’ll take it under advisement. Thanks. Glad someone recognized it as comedy

  13. That is the absolute worst photograph I’ve ever seen, way worse than horror movies. Everytime I think I’ve recovered, it pops back up in my mind. Jeez, you’ve got to warn us before the scroll. I’m gonna have to double my pain medication.

  14. ohhhhh….. ::shudder::
    that photo…
    that is going to stick with me for a long, long time.
    i would like to believe it’s a really brilliant job done by someone Hollywood, but i kinda don’t.

    ::shudder again::

    gosh, XUP, i think you do have your first troll! isn’t it charming how critical they are? as if internet-stalking total strangers and spleen-venting on blogs was a higher calling. ‘my handle Tom Sawyer suggests i’m literary! snark snarkety snark and i’m better than you!’ okaaaay, you socially maladapted troll. are you twelve years old? go play some more world of warcraft or something. go on. shoo.

  15. Lady…you are brilliant!!!! Seriously considering making up an address and emailing this to everyone I think needs it! :oP

  16. Oh, perhaps I misinterpreted your rant on rancid breath and so forth. Either that, or I`ve been misunderstood. Because your blog doesn`t offend me at all. It`s a decent forum. But I stand by my comments. They were well thought out and even echoed by others here.

    Okay, I admit my opening line was harsh. (That must have been the coffee.) Other than that, it`s all good, sister. Puppies, pudding, and clouds indeed.

  17. That’s disgusting! My mother always told me a tooth infection can actually kill you. If that’s true how are these people even walking around? And that breath… we call it death breath. I get really upset when people invade my personal space bubble so I don’t have to deal with much death breath. Offer the woman on the bus a mint or something!

  18. I have one of those sensitive noses too. My husband used to smoke those little cigars-outside of course-and I could always tell if he had opened the door to look inside or just leaned out a window. He was amazed. Let’s not even talk about stinky French cheese.

  19. LoLa – Sorry chickie. I forgot to leave the PU 13 warning. Go look at some photos of babies. That’s make you forget.
    Bandobras – I should try it! See how many unique posts I can do about pudding.

    Hallie – I’d like to think it a Hollywood thing, too, but I’ve seen almost the exact same thing many times in person. And if you think the photo is hard to get out of your mind…. (And thanks for trying to sooo my troll. I could probably block him from commenting, but I like to be an equal opportunity blogger – unless someone says something really out of line about another person or group of people. Anyway, it gives me license to get snarky back!

    Helen – Good idea. Trouble is the people at whom this would be directed wouldn’t catch on. Because if they were that clever, they wouldn’t have the problem in the first place, right?

    Elizabeth – There weren’t any gross photos with Down There, were there? I really should start giving the posts a rating. I find that people will keep reading anyway.

    Raino – Hey – long time no see! And thanks.

    Tom – Sure.

    Charlene – I was thinking the same thing. Tooth decay, gingivitis and all that other tooth stuff can definitely affect/infect the rest of your body . There’s apparantly some relationship between teeth and your heart..I don’t know. The woman in question certainly doesn’t look healthy. She moves and talks like a 90-year old, but can’t be much more than early 50s.

    Linda – You and me, we’re better to have around than a smoke detector! I’ll wake up if a neighbour’s cigarette smoke drifts near my bedroom window in the summer, so I’m pretty sure I’d wake up if the house was on fire. I find that comforting, don’t you?

  20. My mother is proud of her super nose. She’s lucky no one has strangled her yet. She spends half her life going around with her shirt pulled up over her nose. It’s a curse. It’s a blessing.

    It has taken me three years to teach these three teenage boys to brush their teeth. I cannot believe that a mother of eleven would not teach her children to brush their teeth, but she didn’t.

    Brother-in-law had perfectly good dental insurance, but insisted on pulling his teeth out himself, one at a time, as they rotted. Husband got mad at him as we had/have no dental insurance and his brother-in-law should not be that stupid.

    Tom, get a life.

  21. Make that husband’s brother.

    We all know already that my brother-in-law isn’t too bright. Oddly enough, his breath doesn’t smell. Which is a good thing, as he talks non-stop. I shall go now before Tom yells at me.

  22. Sheryl – Man, 11 kids and a guy who pulls out his own teeth .. and they say hillbillies don’t exist anymore!

  23. I’m not keen on getting the last word, but this dude does have a life and I am comfortably chilled more often than not. So there won’t be any yelling. At least, not from me.

    When it comes right down to it, if I disagree with XUP, I shouldn’t comment. Right? There’s very little healthy debate here; only sycophants need apply.

    Is that the culture of blogs? Or just some?

  24. dear god that’s one of my peeves too. i know that some folks (like me) suffer from allergies, that cause sinus issues that produce a rotting smell of the mouth. (and chocolate. chocolate will turn very bad in a short period of time in the mouth.)

    i’ve often wondered about a polite way to tell someone that they are killing me with their breathe.

  25. i once had to alter what time to catch my bus, not because someone was stinky, but because someone would insist on sitting beside me and talking all the way downtown when i just really wanted to read my book (and it wasn’t nice conversation, it was all complainey negative stuff). turns out i really like catching my bus 10 minutes earlier so it all worked out in the end. but it is a shame to have to change your life because of one annoying person.

  26. OMG this post caused me great laughter. thank you! =)

    you are a good writer, keep up the good posts…


    (if this posted twice I am sorry, the thing timed out so crap.)

  27. Truly revolting. This caused me to laugh so hard. The aurthor of this post is a good writer. He should write a book. He explained everything so well, and then he put up the picture. Really disgusting though.