Is There a Bad Breath Test?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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While there may not be a definitive bad breath test, there are many simple ways for someone to detect breath odor before it causes a problem. Most bad breath originates on the tongue and between the teeth where bacteria thrive. By checking the tongue and between teeth for this bacteria and for rotting food, one can help determine if bad breath is present. In some cases, breath odor may be caused by an underlying medical condition. This should be researched by a doctor once all other possibilities have been ruled out.

One bad breath test is to use a metal spoon to scrape the very back of the tongue. More than likely, a yellow or white substance will be present. This is accumulated bacteria, and is the primary cause of bad breath. However, all tongues have a certain level of bacterial growth, so the presence of this substance alone does not guarantee bad breath.

The spoon should be left to dry, along with any bacteria present. Once all moisture is gone, the spoon should be smelled to check for odor. If the spoon smells badly, there is a good chance the person’s breath does as well. This cause for bad breath can be remedied by brushing thoroughly and using a tongue scraper. Mouthwash may also be beneficial, primarily brands that are made to kill germs.


Matter also accumulates between the teeth, primarily those in the back that are easily missed by a toothbrush. Along with bacteria, food particles are left to decay in these tiny crevices. Another bad breath test is to floss thoroughly and check for debris. If one flosses and food is picked up, it can be smelled to determine the extent of decay. This is not necessary, however, because the presence of food alone probably indicates bad breath.

Another bad breath test is to attempt to breathe into a small area, and then smell the breath before it dissipates. This can be fairly accurate, although it may not give an indicate of how bad the breath is. The simplest bad breath test, however, if to ask someone if there is an odor. Although many are too shy or embarrassed to try this method, it is likely the most accurate at detecting bad breath.



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