05:01am Friday 13 December 2019

Don't let bad breath cause the kiss of death

That’s the advice of the British Dental Health Foundation, after research revealed nearly a quarter of the population are concerned about potential bad breath1.

With the cost of Valentine’s Day exceeding an estimated £4.9bn in 20102, the cost of not having good oral health could have further implications for your love life. Survey data captured by the Foundation1 showed one in five people avoided smiling due to missing teeth, while more than a third (37 per cent) of people cited stained or yellow teeth as a reason to avoid smiling. As more than half of respondents (56 per cent) said the most important physical attribute when it comes to attraction is smile or teeth, getting it right for Valentine’s Day could make or break the night.

Bad breath can be a real passion killer. It is a common problem many people face, and is usually caused by the smelly gases released by bacteria that coat the teeth and tongue is often a warning sign of advanced gum disease. Fortunately, the problem can be easily solved by a simple oral health routine.

Knowing you have fresh breath does wonders for your self-confidence and relationships. The opposite is true for people with bad breath, and it is not going to leave a good impression if you go to kiss someone on Valentine’s night and they turn their cheek because you have bad breath.

Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, issued some advice on the best way to beat bad breath.

Dr Carter said: “If you’re going out on a date, think carefully about what you’re eating. Garlic, coffee and onions all have the potential to cause bad breath, so if you’re hoping to get a kiss after the date, look for foods which won’t leave a bad taste in the mouth.

“If you need to freshen your breath up, carry some sugar-free gum, as chewing will stimulate saliva and help prevent your mouth from drying out. Perhaps even take a couple of minutes to floss or clean in between your teeth with interdental brushes before you leave, as bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. If you are a smoker, kick the habit for the night, as tobacco also causes bad breath.

“Although some medical problems may be the cause of bad breath including sinusitis, bronchitis, diabetes, liver or kidney problems, and infections of the nose, throat and lungs, bad breath is most often caused by a lack of good oral hygiene.

“The bacteria on our own teeth that will build up if you don’t brush twice a day will release gases, causing bad breath, so correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh. Brushing your tongue, or using a tongue scraper, will also help to reduce bad breath.

“To test if you have bad breath, simply lick the inside of your wrist, let it dry and sniff. If the smell is bad, you can be fairly sure you have bad breath. If it continues, visit your dentist or hygienist for advice on how to clean more thoroughly.”


Editor’s notes

1. Source: British Dental Health Foundation, March 2011.

2. Source: The cost of Valentine’s Day romance: £550.

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