The importance of fresh breath at work
While figures can vary depending on the source, a 2011 report from the Council of Scientific Affairs found that as many as 50 percent of American adults suffer from bad breath. This condition can effect almost every aspect of your life, but perhaps there is no greater example than at your place of work. Fresh breath is important to a number of different components in the office environment. After all, bad breath can quickly ruin a first impression in a professional setting. In many ways, fresh breath is one of your best tools for a successful career.
Here is a bit more about the power of fresh breath in the workforce:
There are no definitive stats demonstrating that office workers are especially prone to suffering from bad breath or halitosis. However, there are common behaviors among this group that do increase their risk for bad breath. A 2008 survey by the firm Ipsos MORI found that 33 percent of all British workers skipped breakfast. That might save some precious time in the morning, but avoiding that apple or muffin can actually cause bad breath. There are several possible explanations, but one popular theory is that breakfast stimulates the salivary glands, and that activity prevents a lot the bad breath that happens later in the day.
If you're suffering from bad breath, the people with the most exposure might be your co-workers or those you share office space with. These are the people you'll spend most of your day with, and bad breath can hang in the air like a heavy cloud. One survey from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 32 percent of people think bad breath is the least attractive trait in a co-worker. In some instances your bad breath can cause rifts, and that lack of cohesion can have several noticeable different side effects. Not only will people not want to work with you, but it may cause colleagues to actively keep you out of various office functions. When this occurs, an office's success and productivity can become greatly diminished.
A huge disconnect
Bad breath doesn't just impact your co-workers; it can also be detrimental to your relationship with managers and supervisors. In July 2015, CareerBuilder surveyed executives to determine the physical qualities that would prevent someone from getting a promotion. Though piercings and visible tattoos ranked rather high, 23 percent of respondents mentioned bad breath. No doubt your boss has some of the same issues as your co-workers. However, these managers are in a unique position, and they have to consider every aspect of the worker if they're going to offer a promotion or some other benefit. Having bad breath sends the wrong message, one that you're disinterested in your appearance or putting forth your best foot possible.
"Clients don't want to do business with someone who has bad breath."
To some degree, co-workers and supervisors may be able to overcome your issues with bad breath. However, there is one group of people that may not be as forgiving: customers and/or clients (depending on your career field). Like anyone else you might encounter during your work day, these people may want to avoid any prolonged interactions just to minimize the time they have to spend around you. If it happens enough, this may harm your ability to provide a service or assist with various functions within your company. Not only that, but some clients may bring up the issue with your bosses. If that happens, having to discuss your bad breath may cause tensions between you and management, including the aforementioned promotion delays.
Seek out help
Fortunately, bad breath and halitosis don't have to impact your work life. If you suffer from halitosis, it's import to address any of the four main underlying conditions. That includes:
- Xerostomia, or the subjective sensation of a dry mouth.
- Generally poor dental hygiene.
- Eating certain foods (like processed sugars).
- Diseases like diabetes and respiratory tract infections
If you just have run-of-the-mill bad breath, it's quite easy to handle. First, use oral care products that oxygenate your mouth. The bacteria that cause bad breath can't live in an oxygen rich environment. Do not use products that contain alcohol or harsh detergents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate since these ingredients will dry your mouth making bad breath even worse. Finally, try to floss regularly, eat fibrous fruits, which help remove bacteria, take daily doses of vitamin E or vitamin C (great for ridding your body of toxins), and use mints or chewing gum to help stimulate your salivary glands.