You know it when you smell it; the breath of the hunter. Startup CEO’s get it from time to time, and it’s an odor that’s difficult to be near. From a public relations standpoint, breath of the hunter can be a deal breaker.
When you’re dealing with the public it’s imperative that you be as palatable as possible. Business is all about building relationships. No one gets excited when they have to sit in a long strategy session with “that guy” or “that gal” with repulsive breath.
Stress is often the culprit, and the main symptom is breath that smells like stomach acid, or worse. It’s a common phenomenon among entrepreneurs because of the high levels of stress we encounter launching products, closing financing rounds and playing the “hurry up and wait game.” Being constantly on the hunt has its tells.
Most bad breath originates in the mouth itself, as a result of increased bacteria, unchewed food and dry mouth. Skipping meals is also a common cause of bad breath, due to diminished levels of saliva needed to clear away bacteria from the teeth. Bad breath can be caused by the presence of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which can lead to stomach ulcers and certain forms of gastric cancers, according to research conducted at the Fukuoka School of Dental College.
I’m not a doctor, but I am very familiar with the urge or necessity to skip meals in order to ship. I’m also curious about the topic of bad breath because I recently started waking up with a burn in my throat. Lately I’ve also been experiencing an unfamiliar warmth in my esophagus (the stretch between my stomach and throat).
The purpose of this post is two-fold; to raise awareness of the need for oral hygiene among entrepreneurs, and to highlight some potential remedies. Nothing in this post should constitute medical advice, but here are some folk cures that seem like common sense.
The Wikipedia entry on halitosis is pure Internet gold. As a self-diagnosis they recommend, “To lightly scrape the posterior back of the tongue with a plastic disposable spoon and to smell the drying residue.” I just tried this, and the results were inconclusive. Maybe I just have halitophobia–the fear of bad breath.
Brush the teeth and tongue
Most bad breath germs hang out on the tongue, so brushing your teeth is only part of the solution. I highly recommend carrying a travel toothbrush wherever you go, or grabbing some disposable toothbrushes for unexpected times.
Drink lots of water
Keeping your mouth irrigated is one of the easiest ways to reduce levels of bad breath-causing bacteria. Beyond that, drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your body in general.
The jury is still out on whether probiotic yogurt cures bad breath, but the presence of beneficial bacterial strains in yogurt can combat odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Bad breath can also by symptomatic of gum disease and more serious ailments. Telling someone they have bad breath is another post I started, and may finish later. But when it’s a simple matter of oral hygiene, don’t let bad breath have a negative impact on your success.
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