44 answers

I Don't like Kissing My Husband...

He has bad breath. He hardly ever brushes his teeth. I don't remember when this became such a problem...we used to be just a couple of horny you-know-whats. A kiss hello or good bye is no big deal, it's when he or I want a little more passion that I can't stand it. I don't even want him to open his mouth because I know it's going to stink.
I have no idea how the people he works with stand it. At least for church I try to give him gum so the odor is not as strong.
What would you do? Every once in a while (when I think we might 'get busy') I'll ask him to brush his teeth, but I don't want to have to do that. He doesn't care what other people think about him so keeping on top of the hygiene has never been on top of his priority list. I, on the other hand, don't like thinking what other people think about him, let alone think about me and why I am married to 'the stinky guy.'

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You might try taking the Real Age quiz together. http://www.realage.com/ralong/entry5.aspx?cbr=NEXS6_P

This site is fantastic...and FREE! One of the big factors in age and health (as so many have written) is dental health. His poor dental health will be addressed in the results and perhaps seeing the impact on his longevity will help him to make changes on his own.

Also, poor hygiene of any kind is often a symptom of depression. Could this be an issue for him?

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

He may have problems with acid reflux, or other health problems. See if you can get him to go see a health care professional. Good luck.

My husband takes great care of his teeth...but some food just sits with him funny and when it does, I tell him straight out. Because I do and don't hold back to save any feelings (Oh! You're breath is nasty! You've got to do something about that!). I WILL NOT kiss him if he's got nasty breath. He is now more aware of what food does not work well with him and because he would rather kiss and not get stinky, he avoids those foods. I don't blame you, though...that's disgusting and I can't imagine kissing it. I would be completely direct with him.

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i just have frank discussions with my husband about what turns me on/off. for instance, pork rinds. at first i would make a big fuss about how gross they were, but it turned out it hurt his feelings. so we made a deal that i won't say anything about them as long as he eats them on the far side of the couch from me and brushes his teeth afterward. i stand firm on not getting physically close unless he does this. because he wants to be physical, he keeps his part of the bargain. another example, flashing me. he would love it if i randomly flashed him, but suddenly seeing his privates near my face when i'm distracted by something else is not a turn on to me at all. so i just say it like, "i'm a girl. that is not a turn on to me. i understand that it would be a turn on to you, but it does the opposite to me. i have to warm up to intimacy." so if it were me in your situation, i would say something like, "i'm a girl and i need nice smells to feel like getting physically close to you, so please brush your teeth every day. also i'm worried about the health of your teeth and i know how expensive dental work can be, even with insurance. i don't want you to be in pain later on down the road because of problems with your teeth. let's preserve them as best we can." good luck! i hope something gets through to him!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear M.,

When was the last time your husband had his teeth cleaned. I am a dental hygienist and most of the time the bad breath is because of the tartar buildup and junk on his teeth. He also needs to be sure and brush is tongue. That is where a lot of the bad odor comes from also. I would go on no sex strike until he gets his mouth under control. Take care and encourage him to keep his mouth clean and he will be rewarded for his efforts.

1 mom found this helpful


Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unwillingness to attend to basic hygiene issues is a symptom of major depression, as well as loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, especailly sex. He needs to see an MD.You need to become educated about this so you can make some choices about your life with information. This is serious and will only get worse from here if it is not addressed. Sorry!!

Been there, Done that, Still wearing the T shirt.

Oh sweetie! I feel the same way! We have been married for almost 9 years and I have no idea how to fix this problem. PLEASE!! Let me know if you get a response that works!

Really, the best solution, would be to tell him, straight up, that he has some rank breath and he needs to do something about it. It has nothing to do with what other people think about him, it has to do with his health. Not to mention, it is affecting your marriage. Tell him to brush his teeth twice a day, and offer to do it with him, just as a remider. Maybe if you tell him, kissing grosses you out, it will be an eye opener.

Wow. Good luck!


Yuk! You have my sympathy. Get him to the dentist and tell the doctor ahead of time what the problem is. Everyone should brush their teeth AND tongue (which holds a lot of bacteria). Hopefully the dentist can set him on the right track healthwise. Your husband may not care what other people think but it can have a very negative impact at work. Ask him to notice if other people keep their distance when talking with him or keep interaction to a minimum. This could be the reason. He may not want to hear it from you but he will like it even less if the boss (or a co-worker) has to have a talk with him. Good luck. Dee

I completely agree with Mia G.

What i try to do is when i put toothpaste on my toothbrush I grab his and then put the toothpaste away. To make it seem i want to keep things cleaned up. Then just let him know, oh hey, i already put toothpaste on your brush for you. :) If this don't help, simply tell him how you feel. Communication is the best no matter what the subject is. Don't let it go by like it don't bother you.
Good Luck. ;)

I think you need to be more direct with him!! Tell it is gross and a turn-off. I think that is rude and disrespectful, not to mention juvenile.

Get this--my husband has turned into a tooth-brushing Nazi. Some hygeniest put the fear into him and he started brushing his teeth religiously. But his breath still stinks. It's not as bad as you make yours sound, but I have all the same complaints, only not quite as severly.
I also don't know what to do. I know there are those pills called Breath Assure that de-stinkify from the inside, but I dn't know how to bring it up without smashing his delicate ego.
Maybe you could get a big bottle of Scope and suggest that you both use some before you make out, to make it all "minty fresh" for both of you. That's all I can think of!

OK, I have been where you are, and still am to a certain extent. I agree, there is no passion in the disgusting scent of a mouth that smells like another body part! I had to straight up say to my husband, "your breath makes me not want to have sex." That got to his heartstrings (so to speak). Additionally, I started talking about an article I had recently read about how men with gingivitis are in a much higher risk category for heart problems. Additionally, some of his odor turned out to be caused by stomach problems (acid reflux type stuff). So, got him to the doc (no small issue!), got the acid pretty much under control, and the breath is better (usually). So is the sex. :)

The other "tactic" I use for him on health issues is to ask him if he intends to be around to watch his kids grow up. That is his only rationale for going to the doc, EVER!

You're welcome to PM me with other specific questions, if you like. Good luck. You are not alone!

Do you have a microscope in the house? Take a look at plaque! It's disgusting...

Is there a reason for the stinky breath? Stinky breath is one of the body's ways of telling us something is up. Talk to him let him know how you feel. It might hurt his feelings but if something was bothering him wouldnt you want to know.

Hi M.,
Do you think HE KNOWS how offensive his breath actually is? If no one tells him, perhaps he isn't aware of just how bad it is!

You're right, you shouldn't have to tell a grown man that he needs to brush his teeth. However, the bottom line is that if he doesn't do it on his own, and you don't tell him, YOU are the one who has to live with the consequences. I know I would have a really hard time getting into the mood, if my hubby's breath was nasty all the time! Perhaps if you tell him you won't be "getting busy" until he has fresh breath consistently, HE will be the one with the consequences?

Just a thought...

There is no reason to pretend something turns you on when it completely disgusts you. My husband has at times been less than careful with his hygiene - which is sometimes understandable when he has been ill and physically too weak to bathe. Like you I remind him "Do you want to brush your teeth?" and I no longer pretend not to notice. He knows now that if he doesn't brush his teeth, shower, put on deodorant, etc. that I won't be interested in getting close to him.

This is not an issue of what other people think of him. It's an issue of does he care enough about himself and his family to take care of himself? Good oral hygene is very important and if you don't take care of yourself there can be serious health problems. Does he realize this? Do you make the dentist appointments? Tell the dentist before hand about the problem and ask that he 'randomly' talk with your husband about the importance of it and ways to keep healthy and have good breath.

Hi M.,
You have lots of good advice from other moms that I agree with, I would add a couple of things. One is to stress the heatlth part, studies show that brushing your teeth 2 times a day adds 7 years to your life, flossing daily adds 4 years. Also, if you do get him to brush have him brush his tongue, alot of bacteria grows on the soft tissue in our mouths, tongue and roof of mouth are petri dishes of bacteria. The heart issue was mentioned several times.

I would also stress the importance of what he is teaching your kids, they will notice his breath also and it is hard to get them to take care of their teeth if he won't take care of his. I am not as nice as many of the moms who wrote to you, I would be very blunt about how unattractive it is and what a turn off but I did like the one about putting emphasis on the positive of how nice it is when he does brush. Using a piece of gum is just a cover up and all that bacteria is still there and his mouth would not come close to my mouth until he brushed, even if there are underlying problems the brushing has to happen daily.

I would write him a note and nicely let him know that you want him to take care of himself so he is around as long as possible, that you still are so attracted to him and even though he doesn't care about his teeth it is affecting you and that you are much more attracted when you know he is taking care of himself. Brushing daily shows respect for himself and for you, it is only 2 min. out of a day that affects so many things. If this is a control issue for him then I would try and make it a health and sex issue instead. Sometimes a letter is less likely to get a defensive response and also allows someone to think about what was written in their own time.

I don't agree you can't teach a dog new tricks. At any age when there are consequences we learn if we want and there truly is no excuse for not brushing your teeth.

Good luck,

I think people have given great at advice on the bad breath issue. I just wanted to make sure he feels secure with you. If he feels you are too worried about what other people think of him and not so concerned about the love that you two should have for one another that could be a cause for the depression someone else mentioned could be the problem. I struggle all the time with worrying about what other people think. In the end though it really doesn't matter. What is more important is, is your relationship stable, or do you need to work on that. He needs to know that you will love him no matter what. That is what is really important. The bad breath (which I know is an issue) will take care of itself and people can always change.

My husband takes great care of his teeth...but some food just sits with him funny and when it does, I tell him straight out. Because I do and don't hold back to save any feelings (Oh! You're breath is nasty! You've got to do something about that!). I WILL NOT kiss him if he's got nasty breath. He is now more aware of what food does not work well with him and because he would rather kiss and not get stinky, he avoids those foods. I don't blame you, though...that's disgusting and I can't imagine kissing it. I would be completely direct with him.

M.- I completely understand what you're saying! It seems like men just don't care after awhile. I have had the talk with mine-over and over. We went on vacation and I forgot his toothbrush....he never mentioned it.
If you figure it out let me know.
Good luck! H.

be open and honest, and sweet. I tell my husband when his breath bothers me, and he tells me

I had the same problem with my husband, only he really tried to get rid of it. I finally told my hubby, because I didnt want him to think I didn't love him or want to kiss him. Trust me, he really wanted to get rid of it when I told him that the reason I don't kiss him is because of his breath, and that I really want to kiss him.
His dentist gave him a tongue scraper/scrubber. It really helped. I guess it can really build up there. Try getting one for your hubby. Try having him use mouthwash just after he scrubs his tongue. Of course brushing his teeth a couple times a day will help improve it with time as well. Beyond that, keep a pack of strong mints next to the bed and other places around the house. Good luck!

Sad to say, I lived with this for 20 years. In my former-husband's case the problem was not a physical ailment at all but simply that he did not care to bother with brushing his teeth. Lazy slob.

I notice one suggestion to go on a sex strike. I tried that. The result was, I knew he wanted some sex that night because that's the ONLY time he brushed his teeth. (He had asked me once why I no longer kissed him and I asked him if he could think of any reasons for that to be. He said, it's because I'm not brushing my teeth, right? I said yes. So he would brush his teeth every two weeks or so and then expect sex in return.

When he would go to the dentist, the hygeinist would make him swish Listerine for a full minute before even beginning to check him. He complained, but the Lysterine swish was never asked of me before the hygeinist began to check my teeth.

Sadly, after divorcing him, there was no sex as a reason to brush his teeth and soon he had very few teeth left because they rotted right out. Sorry, I know this is gross.

If it is pure and simple laziness and telling him honestly that you fine it a turn-off does not take care of it, it is likely too late in life to change it. Good hygeine habits need to be instilled while young.

Wow, I thought I was the only with this problem. My husband is a bad example for my boys, so every now and then my boys have asked why he doesn't brush his teeth, but makes them. He brushes his teeth alot more often. Right before bed, I'll go in the bathroom and brush mine, but nicely I'll ask if he has kissing breath and he'll jump right up and brush. Works everytime!

There are links between heart disease and dental hygene. Not to mention that his teeth will FALL OUT if he doesn't take care of them! My husband chews tobacco, which I HATE, and I am on him about his teeth all the time...I keep telling him that if his teeth fall out, we can't afford fake ones, so he had better keep up with the ones he has. I agree that you should tell your husband that it is making you disinterested in intimacy--even if he doesn't care what others think, maybe he cares what YOU think!

I have the same problem, my husband has bad breath and it is because he has bad teeth, but he is really lazy about brushing. I tell him when it smells and i tell him when to go brush. i tried all those little games and hints and when they didn't work I just started getting honest. Yes it did start some arguements, but i just told him that i wasn't gonna kiss him when it stinks because i wouldn't ask him to kiss me if i knew my breath smelt. he has gotten alot better and he is better about brushing too. Good Luck.

I totally understand. I worked for a Dentist starting at age 16. I hardly ever brushed my teeth as a child, but my eyes were open when I started working for a dentist. He had all these really gross pictures of people's mouths that were unclean. It grossed me out. Since then I've tried to educate my family about oral hygiene. I will tell my kids,"Well, you don't have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep". and "If you ignore your teeth they will go away." You might want to use this for your husband, or better yet, Get him to the dentist and let them pull out all the ugly pictures for him to see. If that doesn't work, simply don't buy things with a lot of sugar in them. Soda will decay teeth sooo fast. Anyway good luck.

If his breath is better after brushing then I would have no hesitation telling to brush his teeth. Make it a game with your husband that whoever brushes there teeth more regularly (since you should brush your teeth 3 times a day and floss at least once a day) gets to pick their reward. It could help spice up the bedroom or your dates a little. Or just tell him that it is ok athat he doesn't want to impress everyone else. But as much as you love him and love kissing him, his breath gets inthe way. If it is a dental problem that can't be fixed by regular brushing then you may need to talk to a dentist and figure ou what to do. I would keep it light though. Remember how you want to be romanced into doing things. You wouldn't like it if he made a big deal about your one flaw. You would want him to calmly talk to you and be honest. You would want him to help you do things in a way that you don't feel like you are doing it on your own. Then again that may just be me.

I have the same problem except my husband's hygiene is fine, and he sees the dentist every six months. He tries REALLY hard to make his breath better, but he has tonsil stones and there is very little he can do about it. He brushes several times a day, uses mouthwash, chews gum etc. The result- minty sulfur breath. I feel so badly that it turns me off because it is not his fault but unfortunately I really don't enjoy kissing him because of it. Any suggestions anyone?

I understand how your husband doesn't care what other people think, so maybe you could go the route of how good oral hygene can help keep him healthy. They say that taking good care of your teeth and gums especially helps keep your heart, etc. more healthy. Not taking care of your gums/teeth can lead to heart disease among others. Let him know you want to keep him around for a long time!! Good Luck!

I so totally understand! I married my best friend 8 and a half years ago, but no matter how tactful I try to be at letting him know he has bad breath, he doesn't listen or doesn't care. I don't know when he brushes his teeth and I know he doesn't floss because he always has plaque on and in between his teeth. I have kindly asked him, on many occasions, if he would like some gum, but he refuses! I don't know how his co-workers can stand it either. I have a hard time when he wants to kiss passionately too! I tell him this all the time, but sometimes even when he does brush his teeth his breath still has a lingering onion/salsa smell to it, which I think could be due to the plaque problem. I can't stand when my sweetheart breathes on me at night because it smells so horrible. My advice would be to make him a dentist appointment if he will go and continue to let him know how nice it is to kiss him when he has clean breath.

Just a thought maybe he has some sort of dental issue. I have heard that can cause bad breath. Has he seen a dentist recently?

Get him to the dentist. Possibly organize family dentist visits for everyone, including him. If his breath is really bad and he's not big on brushing his teeth, he may have gingivitis. Gum and mints (especially if they contain sugar) will only mask the problem and make it worse. While at the dentist, possibly take the hygienist aside and ask her to educate your husband on why oral care is important.

I don't know if this applies in your situation. But it may not be his fault. Many people have esophageal issues like reflux and don't know it. They can brush and brush but still have problems with odor because the cause is deeper than teeth and mouth. I would be as accepting as you can and see if he can get evaluated medically for any problems at his physical exam.

If that's not it, try to compliment the positive (like when he DOES brush his teeth) instead of criticizing the negative (when he doesn't). And try not to worry about what other people think. They aren't kissing him, so they probably haven't noticed he is "the stinky guy." Home is a place people need to feel accepted,and I think it will do harm to your marriage if you give him the impression you are ashamed of him. Good luck.

Hi, Well i am there. I have this same problem. The way i have made it better is i bought mouthwash, and just explained to him, that I was having a problem with it. I have founf that being honest and talking through our problems it makes our marrage better. anyway he still dont brush much,but now he uses mouth wash all the time and it does help. good luck and remember talk.

have you told him his breath stinks? and that you don't like kissing him because of it? women need to be more literal. dont just hint that he should brush his teeth but tell him that you won't kiss him until he brushed his teeth.

You could get some good listerine for him and you to swish at night so that it kills germs and keeps your teeth strong. tell him it is for you both to have stonger teeth. Listerine is so strong it kills bacteria and improves breath for a lont time. good luck

Oh I remember this so well. My ex-husband had issues with this at times also. He now walks around without a single tooth in his mouth and refuses to wear his dentures.

I hate to say this, but you will most likely never change your husband. You can do things to set a good example and when you think things are going to lead to intimacy you can stop and say "oh wait, I want to shower or I need to brush me teeth first." Sometimes this will help. If it doesn't you move to the next step which is to be blunt and say "I'm sorry, but your breath is too much for me to handle" and refuse to kiss him. The sad thing is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Now the worst thing here is that bad breath is caused by underlying problems. Either with digestive issues or with bad teeth. Even after brushing you may find that it hasn't done much to get rid of the smell. Of course you can always try talking to him and letting him know that if he doesn't get in to the dentist and take care of his rotting teeth that it will lead to no more intimacy. I know that my ex-husband finally went through a spell of going to the dentist time and time again (after much urging on my part) to try to take care of some of his teeth and it did do wonders for his breath for a while, but he eventually slipped back into his old habits and he now had to have all his teeth extracted and went to dentures. He still does not take care of his oral hygiene and has started refusing to wear his dentures. He just gums everything that he eats. I think it is gross to walk around toothless, but I guess that is one reason he is my EX. lol

I have the same problem and I am not quite sure what to do. I tried to drop little hints at first, and that didn't seem to work. I finally told him that his breath was stinky and if he wanted to kiss me or do anything else, he needed to do something about it. I think it hurt his feelings, but now he will either brush his teeth or get a piece of gum before trying anything. I don't know what else to do so if you find something better, let me know. I don't think I was very nice about it and that made me feel bad, but he seems ok with it now. He is good about carring gum with him. good luck!

Don't tell him what you don't like. Tell him what you DO like, they're far more likely to respond. After he brushes his teeth, tell him how much you like the mintiness, how that in combination with his exceeding good looks just makes you want him more. Men respond better to positive feedback rather than negative. I had to do that to my husband, and now he brushes all the time just to see what I'll do.

I might suggest a dentist appointment- if his breath is that bad there might be something wrong- like a medical issue. Not to scare you or anything.. But definately worth looking into. Mouth wash or a fresh breath spray might be another thing. zBut you might want to break it to him gently and let him know how you feel.

Hope that helps,

Bless your heart M.
This is not a problem I have encountered with the men in my life.
But my suggestion to you is this, if you have a regular doctor then go to him and ask his advice.
Hygiene is something that is very important and your husband needs to understand that if he doesn't take care of the germs that grow in his mouth, it could lead to other health issues.
It must be very difficult when you love someone and actually desire them to have this kind of dilemma.
Have patience and perhaps your doctor can shed some light on your situation.
Good luck honey

echoing suzzane...go on a sex strike until he starts brushing.

He may have problems with acid reflux, or other health problems. See if you can get him to go see a health care professional. Good luck.

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