Dear Prudence

Help! My Girlfriend Has a Bad Case of Morning Breath.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

A woman w/ a towel on her head trying to smell her own breath against her palm.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Q. Rise and shine: My girlfriend has morning breath. It’s especially bad when she oversleeps (thanks, COVID). Yet she wants to kiss when she wakes up (she’ll find me in the office, since I get up earlier than she does), and she doesn’t brush her teeth or use mouthwash until after she’s eaten breakfast. How do I tell her I love her but I don’t want to embrace her while she smells?

A: “Darling, go brush your teeth and then come back to kiss me.”

Everyone has morning breath! Your girlfriend may have a worse-than-average case, but this isn’t something uniquely weird about her that you need to be extra-sensitive about. Treat it as an easily fixable issue and an easy request for her to fulfill! I hope you’re not flinching if she so much as brushes your arm affectionately before brushing her teeth, but it’s perfectly reasonable to want to hold off on more than a light peck on the cheek until afterward.