Want to know the No. 1 turn-off on a date? Bad breath. When trying to charm your lover across the table, the last thing you want is to be reeking oral odor. The worst part is that many people get it without realizing it. According to a recent study from GOSmile, nine out of 10 people between the ages of 16 and 40 feel that having bad breath is the worst social mistake you can make. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid the stink, since no one wants to kiss a dirty mouth.
1. Brush your teeth before you suit up for a date. It's a helpful tip to ensure that all the food scraps are cleaned out of your mouth. Don't forget to scrub your tongue, especially the back where much of the odorous bacteria originates. Brushing your teeth after a nap is crucial, too. Sometimes after work we get knocked out from the day, so we need a little cat nap for a recharge. But when you awake from the short snooze to get ready for the date, be sure to scrub away - because while you sleep, your saliva glands shut down almost entirely. Familiar with morning breath? That occurs because there is no saliva to swish out smelly anaerobic bacteria.
2. Keep gum handy at all times. This is the simplest way to get rid of bad breath on the go. Chewing a stick of gum has a twofold attack: it not only covers unwanted smell temporarily, but also stimulates saliva production to neutralize smells coming from odor-causing bacteria. Dentists call these microbes volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). You know the rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide) and barnyard smell (methyl mercaptan)? Those are known as VSCs. According to research conducted by Dr. Cassiano Rösing, associate professor of the department of conservative dentistry at the University of Rio Grande do Sol in Brazil, gum can temporarily reduce VSC production by more than 70 percent.
The ingredients of gum matter as well. Some packs contain natural oils which work more effectively to defend your mouth - and your chances of a second date. The best ingredients include cinnamon, peppermint and spearmint oils, which act on the bacterial membrane, turning it leaky and then draining the bacteria. To prevent the stink lines radiating out of your mouth like in cartoons, throw in a stick of gum before and after the meal.
3. Avoid garlic, onions and large amounts of alcohol. These foods are infamous for causing halitosis, since the oils stay in your system for up to two days after consumption. In fact, after these food are absorbed into the bloodstream, odors are transferred to the lungs where they are expelled. That means you are literally breathing the very potent and noticeable smell of garlic and onions. Meanwhile, alcohol dries out the mouth, which causes anaerobic bacteria to become quite noticeable. When you're sipping back on a beer or cocktail, remember to take it slow.
4. Drink plenty of water. Once you're finished eating and laughing voluntarily at your date's jokes, make sure to rinse around some H2O in your mouth. This will wipe out remaining food particles and spur saliva flow, which also circumvents smelly breath.
Testing for bad breath
The conventional method of checking for foul mouth odor is by breathing into your hand. However, that's only a great way to smell your hand. If you actually want to gauge your breath on a sexify-me-captain to get-me-away-from-you scale, lick your wrist, let it dry for five seconds, then smell it. If it stinks you're off the brink, if nothing's there you're in the clear.