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home : columns : dear harriette June 28, 2016

3/4/2014 2:01:00 PM
Reader must ask brother for money

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went on a trip with my family as a special tribute even though I couldn't afford it. My brother said he would reimburse me for the cost of travel to help ease my burden. I thought that was so nice of him. He is busy with his work and his life, and he forgot to give me a check or cash when we were all together. Several weeks have passed, and he still hasn't sent me the money. I called him once to remind him, and he assured me he would do it right away. I feel horrible having to grovel for this money, but I would not have attended had he not promised to pay my way. What can I do? -- Broke, Cincinnati

DEAR BROKE: You can call your brother again and remind him to send you a check or wire you the money. It is easy to do now through services like PayPal or Chase QuickPay, among others. Tell him you need it right away.

In the future, don't put yourself in that position. Do not spend money that you don't have. If you have to miss family events or other activities, miss them. Focus on getting your finances straight, and then you can be clear on what you are able to afford. A simple and powerful book to read is "The One Week Budget: Learn to Create Your Money Management System in 7 Days or Less," by The Budgetnista.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Another source of halitosis that is not commonly known is from "cryptic tonsils." My dentist didn't even know what they were when he used a pick to extract a glob of white, hardened food debris showing under the skin from the back of my mouth. I could see it, but had no idea what it was.  

I went to my ENT, who told me that some people's tonsils have indentations, or "crypts," around the tissue, which leads to food accumulating and decomposing, hence the bad odor. I went back to my dentist and asked the dental assistants, who had not heard of this source of halitosis either. I Googled "cryptic tonsils" and found home-care solutions from Internet users who had the same problem. Now I am very careful not to eat soft white bread and to clean my teeth and mouth after everything I eat. I also use my finger (in the privacy of my bathroom) to search around those areas where food might be accumulating and smell my fingertip to see if there is an odor. Then I work at getting the offending food particles out. I am surprised that this is not more common knowledge. Sometimes all the breath mints and mouthwash in the world do not help someone if cryptic tonsils are the problem. -- Clean Mouth, Chicago

DEAR CLEAN MOUTH: I really appreciate your input as well as the many people who have written in with their experiences of halitosis and its causes and prevention. What is clear is that there are many reasons that people can suffer from bad breath. Many of them are health-related and extend far beyond whether they brush their teeth thoroughly.

The first stop when dealing with halitosis can be your dentist, followed immediately by your internist so that you can get to the root of your problem.  

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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