Bad breath seems to be inevitable at certain times, and while it is nice to anticipate being in a social setting in order to properly prepare, sometimes it comes without notice.
In my particular case, I will sometimes have individuals get very close to me while carrying on a conversation. Although this is typically awkward enough, it is always much worse when I know that I could possibly have bad breath. When this happens, I get very uncomfortable and tend to do one of the following:
Look down when talking. I don't like this approach because I am usually breaking eye contact with the person which could be taken as rude. Also, I am a very tall individual and so I am usually looking down to the person regardless.
Take a step back. I feel like this could also be taken as rude and possibly make that person think that they are making me uncomfortable.
Just deal with it, but then constantly fear that you will be labeled as that guy.
Usually, these are people that I do not know well enough that I can be honest about the situation, so short of carrying around gum all day everyday, I feel as though the options are limited.
Is there a good social way to deal with this type of situation that avoids appearing rude or distant?