A breath of fresh air: Politicians and dry mouth

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: If you want to win people's hearts (and thus political office), you can't turn their stomachs every time you open your mouth.

Posted: April 29, 2016

Fresh breath is crucial for a successful politician

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of fresh breath at the workplace. Even with the most insightful business plan or welcoming demeanor, bad breath can ruin just about any interaction in your office setting. The same can be said not just for salesmen, account executives and customer service reps, but also for perhaps the most people-centric job there is: a politician.

If people don't admire you or can't even stand to be in your presence due to bad breath, then you're likely not going to have much hope of a lengthy political career. In fact, many a capable person has had his or her political career affected by bad breath. Here are a few examples of how bad breath influenced the electoral process:

"If people can't stand your presence, there is little hope for a lengthy political career."

The man with a winning smile
In 2003, Japan was in the middle of a heated debate. The prime minister at the time, Junichiro Koizumi, was facing some stiff competition from the opposition party. As a means of bolstering  its odds, the Democratic Party of Japan released a 21-page booklet detailing a way to win over female voters. This demographic had polled considerably in favor of Koizumi, as The Economist explained.

The DPJ offered several key points of advice, but one revelation stood out: Female voters would be turned off by bad breath. Similarly, when surveyed by the DPJ, many women said they lost interest if a candidate's nails or hands were dirty. The guide explained that women voters were concerned with the appearance of a candidate because of what it says about him or her, and bad breath or jagged nails might be considered an international embarrassment. It seems, though, that the guide itself was lost on DPJ candidates, as Koizumi was reelected once again.

Perhaps Koizumi followed the guidelines for fresh breath, like regular brushing and flossing, avoiding certain foods like onions and garlic, and regular checkups with his dentist. The use of breath mints can help with bad breath, as they help produce saliva that removes bothersome food particles. 

Can't lead a hoarse to water
The losing DPJ candidates have something in common with a more famous American politician: Marco Rubio. In the early 2000s, Rubio was an up-and-coming star in the  Florida political scene. After capturing a seat in the Florida House of Representatives and later serving as a speaker, he was elected to the United States Senate in 2011.

"The main takeaway from Rubio's speech was his dreaded dry mouth."

However, it wasn't until 2013 that Rubio really hit the national political scene. He was given the chance to offer the the GOP's rebuttal following President Obama's State of the Union address. This could have been a huge, career-defining moment, one that pushed him to the precipice of American politics. However, the main takeaway from the rebuttal was that Rubio infamously struggled with dreaded dry mouth.

A moment that could have featured a stirring and powerful speech from a young senator was instead only remembered by an awkward water break. In the years that followed, Rubio would go on to struggle with dry mouth, and when he ran for president throughout 2015 and early 2016, his speeches featured regular water breaks. While it's hard to pin down why Rubio dropped out of the race in March 2016 - perhaps the presence of Donald Trump, a disconnect with voters - you can't ignore the impact these water-related gaffes had on Rubio's chances.

If only he'd known there are plenty of dry mouth solutions, including the use of lozenges, oral rinses and specially designed toothpastes. Rubio may also want to see a doctor if he ever runs for president again. Dry mouth has a number of medical causes, like nerve damage and autoimmune disease. Dry mouth can also be caused by medications (mainly antihistamines and decongestants).

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