Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and love is in the air! I'm sure many of you will be eagerly awaiting a romantic evening, but before you pull out all the stops to impress your date, take a second to consider how your oral health may be a barrier to romantic success.
A recent survey conducted by the Oral Health Foundation found that bad breath (or halitosis as it’s known medically) is the biggest turn-off when it comes to finding potential partners. 85% of British adults said that they would be put off if their date had bad breath, and 80% stated that they wouldn’t go on a second date with someone if they had bad breath on the first date!
When asked to rank the biggest dating faux-pas, participants deemed bad breath as a bigger turn-off than bad jokes, terrible dress sense, lateness and poor manners- and you know it’s a real problem when a British person would rather their date be late and rude than have halitosis!
So, now that we know how damaging bad breath can be to our love lives, what causes it and how can we prevent it? A number of factors can contribute to halitosis, most of them relating to diet or oral hygiene. If you do not regularly brush and floss, particles of food can get stuck in your teeth, where they can build up and slowly break down. The breaking down of these particles by bacteria releases sulphur compounds, which can make your breath smell stale. Furthermore, foul-smelling products or pungent foods such as onion and garlic can be carried in the blood to the lungs, where they can affect the breath- spicy foods and drinks such as coffee and red wine are also culprits.
The easiest way to prevent bad breath and Valentine’s disappointment is to adopt a good, regular oral health routine. Brushing twice a day as well as flossing will help to remove those pesky food particles from your teeth and keep your breath fresh- also consider brushing your tongue, as it can harbour a significant amount of bacteria which will contribute to bad breath if left unchecked. Lastly, chewing sugar-free gum will stimulate the production of saliva, which will help to flush out the bad bacteria from your mouth and prevent the release of those pungent sulphur compounds.
If your bad breath persists after regular brushing, the best thing to do is visit your dentist right away, as persistent halitosis can be indicative of a wider oral health issue such as gum disease. So, for all of those looking for love this Valentine’s, make sure your breath smells as fresh as a daisy, or your dream date may end up feeling like a nightmare!
Don’t forget, at Wimpole Street Dental Care we operate The Fresh Breath Clinic which can help you to smile with confidence. Call us on 020 7935 3323 to discuss this service further.