You want to do some appetizing research? Go to the Mayo Clinic website and read about what causes bad breath. The harbingers of halitosis include food that gets stuck in your teeth, tobacco, poor dental hygiene, dry mouth (this occurs most frequently when sleeping at night, thus “morning breath”), oral infections, and many similar pleasant precipitators (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bad-breath/basics/causes/CON-20014939). Now isn’t that a joyful matter to ponder!
Well, have you considered the very graphic imagery Paul uses in Ephesians 4:29 to describe improper speech? He says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth…” That word “unwholesome” is an interesting word (ESV—”corrupting”). It is from a Greek word meaning “to cause to decay” (TDNT). The footnote of my Bible says “literally, rotten.” The Greeks used the word to describe what offends the sense of sight and smell, but it came to describe even offensive sounds as an ancient fragment from Theopompus Comicus used the word to describe the “unpleasant sounds of flutes” (CAF, I, 746). They used the word to describe bad vegetables and rotting fish (WSNTDICT).
Notice what the Holy Spirit through Paul does with the word. In guiding the Ephesians in how not to walk, Paul gets graphic by warning against “smelly speech.” Get the picture by considering the descriptive word. When you talk, does what you say have the figurative effect of compost, fish carcasses, and the like? Or, let us come at it by way of contrast, as Paul does. Instead of uttering waste dump words, use “only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Throw away trashy speech through uplifting, timely, graceful talk! Is what you say helpful to others? Does it build them up? Does it bring them closer to Christ? Is it just the right word at the right time? If so, it’s like moral mouthwash!
If not, then let God’s diagnosis hit home! Clean up your conversations. Make sure what you say to others is to them a breath of fresh air!