Guy meets chic. Guy asks chic on a date. Guy and chic get exclusive. Guy has chic’s head in the clouds. No one makes chic feel as great as guy does. Pause. Chic is in a dilemma because guy exhales and nasty dragons are let loose. Chic needs to fix this but is clueless as to how. Pause.

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Bad breath (halitosis) is a different ball game from morning breath. The long hours of inactivity at sleep summons bacteria to the mouth and that accounts for hideous dragons that might escape when you say: “Good morning my love”. From bad oral hygiene to smoking and eating of certain foods, bad breath plagues many and directly affects the ones they love.

Love brings out the vulnerability in us all and relationships are ruined when even the minute issues are not handled properly. When feelings are hurt and egos are bruised, cracks start appearing on the walls of a union, which might eventually lead to splitsville.

Seemingly insignificant episodes of snoring, loud chewing, teeth-grinding while asleep, or bad breath always snowball into huge causes for concern by the “receiving” party. How do you tell your partner their breath stinks? How do you lay it on him so gently he does not take offence? What is a great way to tell the love of your existence that his kisses sometimes make you want to throw up?

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The simple recipe for success in this instance involves a blend of love, tact and consistency. For someone you are in a relationship with, use of these three ingredients might be challenging. Start with regular baby steps. Small changes do not happen by altering the person as a whole but by constantly raising awareness about an issue.

Be the best model to your partner

A conversation about such a sensitive topic if not expertly handled might go south real fast. So, show by example. This could achieve a lot when your partner recognises that he is not alone on his issue.

(a)  Give him the chance to observe you check your breath to make sure everything is kosher on that end. He could get a laugh out of it but convince him that perceiving oneself is not so strange. This would most likely spur him into starting this “practice” that would expose him to the possibility that he has halitosis.

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(b)Maintain good oral hygiene while he watches. Brush (morning and night), floss regularly and gurgle with mouthwash. Old habits die hard but your partner will definitely learn new oral hygiene habits when your relationship is on the brink of dissolution over his bad breath.

The gift that keeps on giving

There is a whole lot gifts can accomplish. It could soothe the mind while preparing it for some serious talk.

(a) A gift-set with designer toothbrushes (I recommend gold-plated ones), Listerine mouthwash (or any nicely- flavoured ones) and a pack of fabulous- looking dental floss will serve as an incentive to keep his choppers and mouth fresh.

(b) At intervals, offer a pack of mint-flavoured gums, especially outside the home.

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(c) You could also gift your partner an all-expense paid trip to the dentist. Offer to be at the appointment with him to hold his hand while those doctors poke and prod away. At the end day, the dentist would have saved your relationship and your partner from plaques that cause halitosis.

 

Frank talk

When all else fail, frankly talk about the matter. The conversation could begin with: “You know I love you, right?” Then on and on and on. You should know what buttons to press to get your partner to listen, obey and be blessed.

Consistent, subtle and tender nudges in the right direction is the key to accomplishing change in a relationship. Patience is an additional virtue you can learn when dealing with delicate concerns like bad breath.

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