in: Health, Health & Fitness

• Last updated: September 25, 2021

Keeping It Fresh: Avoiding Bad Breath, Body Odor, and Cheap Cologne

Illustration of vintage man screaming on phone for ad advertisement.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a fellow Tulsan and friend, Nathan Fifield.

Do you remember when you were a teen and your parents or teachers complained about your terrible breath and body odor?If you were like me, you didn’t care and you probably didn’t do anything about it. After all, you couldn’t smell it, and of course as a teenager you are not supposed to care about anything other people tell you.

Unfortunately, I know far too many grown men who still smell like reeking teens, and whether they know it or not, their odor problem is wreaking havoc on their personal relationships, their business prospects, and the respect people give them. Most of us are too polite to confront a man with an odor problem and some men live completely oblivious to the foul destruction they leave in their wake.We grow accustomed to our own scents and as putrid as they are, we cannot recognize them.Our nose filters out and ignores many background odors, such as the ones in our nasal passages.Some of us also have poor olfactory senses, so bad odors don’t bother us like they do others. Time to wake up and smell the B.O.!

Dealing with Bad Breath

The first step is to recognize the problem. Every man should be aware of the potential horrors of his own breath.You don’t want co-workers to cringe when you sit down next to them and women to turn their cheek when you go in for the smooch.

The best way to test your breath is to ask your spouse or a friend for their feedback. If no one is around, try scraping a bit of scum from the back of your tongue with your fingernail, placing it on the back of your hand, and then smelling it.

Bad breath typically occurs on an empty stomach, after eating certain foods like garlic, when suffering from sinus conditions, smoking, or for other more complicated reasons.To eliminate it, be sure to eat, drink plenty of water, and brush your teeth, tongue, and gums regularly. Using Listerine, hydrogen peroxide or other types of washes may also help. Always keep a steady supply of breath mints. For some cases, Tic-Tacs are just not enough.Try something stronger like Listerine Pocket Packs if you are a smoker or have a chronic breath problem.

If the above remedies don’t cure your bad breath, try a tongue scraper. Your tongue is like a carpet, and bacteria, food particles, and discharge from your sinuses get caught in the fibers, especially at the very back of the tongue, and turn into a bad breath breeding ground. A tongue scraper clears away these bad breath instigators; you’ll be amazed at the instant difference it can make.

If your bad breath persists no matter what you throw at it, pay a visit to your doctor.

Illustration of vintage Lifebuoy soap ad advertisement.

It’s not because you’re old, Grandpa….it’s because you smell.

Dealing with B.O.

Everyone has a problem with body odor.The trick is to manage it correctly.This can be done by staying clean, using proper soaps, shampoos, deodorants, colognes, and washing your clothes regularly.You may think that the jeans you have worn every day for the last two weeks still smell fine, but anyone with a modicum of olfactory awareness, will tell you that you smell like the plague.Wear your jeans twice, at absolute most, three times, and wash them.

Using proper cleaning products is absolutely essential.When mismanaged, certain commercial fragrances create chemical warfare with your b/o.I once got up the courage to tell a friend of mine how horrible his b/o was. The next day, he went out and bought some kind of cheap, spray-on deodorant.The combination of the body odor and the crass deodorant was unbearable.I almost wished I hadn’t told him about his problem.

Avoid spray-on deodorants and body sprays like the overpowering Axe Body Spray. There’s no need to envelop yourself in a cloud of fragrance. Instead, find a subtle, mild, or no-fragrance deodorant or antiperspirant. Many of your typical grocery store deodorants, soaps, and aftershaves have cheap, tacky fragrances that hang on the wearer like an ugly overcoat.Use these products to get clean, and stay free of B.O. But don’t use them for their scents, unless you can find a quality product with a sophisticated scent that works well with your body’s natural odor. Also be aware of the scent of your laundry detergent. Many people find the cheap fragrances in detergent to be unbearable. It is safest to stick with non-scented detergent or a high quality detergent with a non-offensive, mild fragrance.

The only upside of B.O. is that it might attract the attention of a hot spy chick:

Finding a Proper Cologne

Scents, like the clothing we wear and the language we use, inadvertently communicate a lot about us. An overpowering scent can be seen as vain, tacky, or sexually desperate. Of course it is safest to wear no scent at all. However, an appropriate cologne can subtly enhance the image we project to the world.

There are two philosophies with regards to wearing fragrance. According to the first philosophy, people should wear a fragrance like they wear a piece of clothing. When people pass you, they might say, “Wow, that’s a really great scent you are wearing.” In the second approach, a person chooses a fragrance that will subtly enhance their own natural scent. Instead of saying “That’s a great cologne,” they might say “You smell nice today.” I personally prefer this second approach, and would strongly suggest that this is the best approach for daily use. On special occasions, you might find a strong, unique scent that draws attention to itself, but in general, you should find a subtle scent that mildly enhances your aura.

Finding the right scent for you will take some work. Because everyone’s natural smell is different, colognes will react differently to each individual. It is impossible to judge simply from smelling the bottle. You need to wear the scent and see how it reacts with your natural smell over time. Don’t be too eager to pick one out. Go to the department store, find a scent you like and spray a small amount on your arm. Notice how the scent works with your body throughout the day. Many men and women have made the mistake of purchasing a scent, only to abandon it after the first use, simply because they can’t stand the smell of it after a few hours. These are things you should try to find out before you make a purchase. Enlist the help of your spouse or girlfriend. They will appreciate the care you are taking to manage your hygiene, and females are typically far more sensitive to fragrance.

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