I am always surprised when I meet an otherwise well-groomed person who has bad breath. Usually, these people are unaware of the problem. I was in the mall the other day getting fitted for a pair of new glasses. The woman helping me had breath that smelled like stale coffee. It wasn’t very pleasant. I’m sure she was unaware of it. I didn’t know her, so I said nothing.
A couple of months ago I was getting a haircut. My stylist had been eating some kind of snack food that had a lot of garlic. His breath was overpowering. I know him reasonably well, so I was comfortable telling him that the snack food he had eaten really caused bad breath. He thanked me, and popped a piece of gum into his mouth to mask the smell.
That helped, but then he began smacking his gum – not very attractive to watch in the mirror, nor to listen to. I like gum. But thanks to Cathy, I’ve broken the habit of chewing it. It’s difficult to chew gum and not smack it or look vapid. I have limited my gum-chewing to when I’m riding my bike or exercising. Even then, I keep my mouth closed and avoid smacking it.
People often chew gum on airplanes to help their ears adjust to the changes in cabin pressure. While chewing gum can help your ears, it does little for your image as a professional. My best career advice is to not chew gum ever. There are better ways to control bad breath.
Many otherwise well-groomed people forget about their breath. Fresh breath is the mark of a well-groomed person. Brushing after lunch is the best way to keep your breath fresh. However, if you don’t want to bring a toothbrush to work, the breath strips do a pretty good job of keeping your breath fresh. Use them after coffee, and after eating – especially when you eat food seasoned with garlic, or after sushi. Cathy always reminds me when I have wasabi breath.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. It’s the little things that mark you as a well-groomed person. Too many people don’t pay enough attention to their breath. Bad breath is not pleasant. Follow the advice in Tweet 77 in Success Tweets. “Keep your breath fresh. Brush after meals and coffee. Use the strips. Don’t chew gum. Ever. It makes you look like a cow.” Brushing can be inconvenient, so I recommend the breath strips. I always encourage my career success coach clients to avoid gum. It can sweeten your breath, but it also makes you look unsophisticated.