Who Opened the Thiols? Oh- That’s Your Breath?!

Dear Dora: Who opened the thiols?Dear Dora,

A new postdoc in lab has the worst breath I’ve ever smelled, but nobody knows him well enough to tell him to do something about it. What to do? Help!

– Jaime, graduate student


Dear Jaime,

I love this question, because I think everyone has met a person who had bad (and I mean BAD) breath, and they did not know how to deal with the situation. I listed a few websites that have suggestions on how to tell someone about their halitosis politely. Bad breath is usually caused by poor dental hygiene and possibly respiratory tract infections. Thus, it is important to be respectful when talking to a person with bad breath.

How to tell someone they have bad breath
Bad breath causes and remedies

If no one knows him well, this situation is even trickier. The most discrete solution is to send him an email from an anonymous account. Be sure to be understanding, and suggest ideas to help him resolve his bad breath (e.g. see a dentist, read some articles). It is best if he does not know the email came from a coworker.

There is even a site called BadBreathOGram that will send the email for you, although it didn’t seem to be working when I tried it out.  However, I was able to send a “Stink-O-Gram“, which incidentally covers other smells beyond just bad breath.


Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to [email protected] and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!


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1 comment so far. Join The Discussion

  1. How to Tell on Someone Like an Adult

    wrote on May 20, 2011 at 5:24 am

    […] Who Opened the Thiols? Oh- That’s Your Breath?! […]

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