First dates are all about establishing chemistry. Great conversation, similar senses of humor, relatable life goals: all of these build the foundation to a great evening and, by extension, the beginnings of true romance. But no matter how splendidly the date went, no deal-breaker is as effective as going in for a kiss and being met with halitosis. Bad breath is a natural fear of many in the dating scene; a 2013 survey for National Fresh Breath Day found that 67 percent of British men and women deemed bad breath to be the ultimate first date turnoff. Fortunately, your romantic life doesn't have to be dominated by a few odors, and there's plenty to be done to keep your love life fresh and clean.
Not just an odor problem
On the one hand, kissing someone with bad breath is just generally unpleasant. However, as Dr. Ernest Newbrun, DDS, pointed out, bad breath can ruin more than just a kiss. Bad breath has much broader implications and tells potential romantic partners that you don't take care of yourself. It also says that health might not be a huge priority given that bad breath can be indicative of ailments like diabetes and kidney failure, according to Everyday Health. Newbrun added that the rejection that accompanies bad breath can also impact people's self-confidence and emotional well-being, making it hard to forge new connections and relationships.
Smell the difference
Bad breath may be a huge first date fear, but not everyone has to worry. There is a clear difference between occasional bad breath and chronic halitosis. The latter is the result of a number of other chronic onditions that lead to dry mouth - like hypertension and diabetes - which can further contribute to chronic bad breath. Halitosis is also caused by viruses that affect the throat, nose and sinuses.
Pinning down bad breath
Some people aren't aware of their bad breath until they're rejected after that first date smooch. Before you leave the house, follow the advice of The Date Report and check for bad breath. If you have a friend or roommate available, ask him or her for honest input. As a less-direct approach, you can watch for someone's reaction; if that person puts his or her hand up while you're talking, you may be dealing with bad breath. There is also the smell test in which you chew on a pen and smell it right after.
Speak the truth or hold your tongue?
A first date is a time to impress someone, and as a result, some people have a problem addressing touchier subjects. And that includes something as mortifying as bad breath. So should you tell your date his or her breath is particularly overwhelming? Psychologist Seth Meyers, who has written several dating books, said the answer is a firm yes. However, it's all a matter of how you frame the discussion. Don't react with disgust; instead, ask something like, "Could you brush your teeth after dinner so I can kiss you?" That way, you solve the problem without hurting anyone's feelings.
Prevent Bad Breath on a Date
There are effective steps you can take to prevent bad breath on a date. These include:
- Brush and floss before your date - Bacteria feed on food particles between your teeth.
- Don't forget to brush your tongue - The bacteria that cause bad breath live under the surface of your tongue.
- Use a mouthwash after you brush - Use only an oral rinse that does not contain alcohol which can dry out your mouth, causing the very bad breath you were trying to prevent.
- Drink water before and during your date - This, of course, also prevents dry mouth.
- Chew gum or suck on mints - Both create saliva which combats bad breath. Make sure they're sugarless because not only is it better for your teeth but also because the bacteria that cause bad breath use sugar as fuel to reproduce and make your breath even worse.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care professional before beginning any new therapy.