Jennifer Aniston may have the best body in Hollywood. But co-stars say her coffee breath is tough to take.
Icon of handsomeness Clark Gable might not have given a damn, but his "Gone With the Wind" love interest, Vivien Leigh, did not like kissing him. "His dentures smelled something awful," Scarlett said of her steamy scenes with Rhett.
The takeaway from these tabloid tidbits? Stunning beauty is no defense from stultifying breath. Now matter how gorgeous a person might be, bad breath causes an innate reflex to back off from him or her.
Evolutionary evidence for why we hate bad breath
The science behind our aversion to halitosis runs deep. Consider our ancestors. Their hygiene standards certainly weren't up to ours. But we learned the vital importance of smell to make life-or-death decisions. As one of my patients, an anthropologist, hypothesized, coming close allowed our forebears to sniff one another. Was this person "safe"? How could we tell?
"The science behind our aversion to halitosis runs deep."
That sniffing behavior may have been rooted in the bone-deep knowledge that some smells brought danger. For instance, if our ancestors came upon a dead animal, its scent would tell them if it was fresh enough to eat. As meat decays, anaerobic bacteria produce the chemicals cadaverine and putrescine. The process gives off stinky sulfur compounds. Those are the same substances that cause halitosis.
It's no wonder, then, that we say of persons with bad breath things like, "His breath smells like the crypt."
Getting back to our actors, The Daily Mail quoted Richard E. Grant as rating Forest Whitaker's halitosis the worst in Tinseltown. The two shared a kiss in the movie "Pret-A-Porter."
"This man had breath like an open grave," Grant said.
Halitosis plagues 'Beautiful People'
Of course, thespians aren't the only beautiful people who struggle with bad breath.
A high-end dating site whose very name is "Beautiful People" sets high standards by only accepting the most physically appealing applicants to its pool of eligible singles. Millions of would-be members have been spurned for not having the right looks. To be exact, the site has turned down 11 million applications and accepted just 800,000 in its decade-plus of keeping the unattractive outside its virtual velvet rope.
Now there's news that the site will expand into the physical realm with a tony club in - where else - L.A. Only the most striking people, as judged by a panel of knockouts, will be allowed entrance.
"We listen to our members," Managing Director Greg Hodge told The Sun, "and they are fed up of going out to expensive bars, hoping to meet similarly beautiful people, only to spend the night wishing that the lighting was lower."
Seven steps to a seriously fresh mouth
These Adonises and Aphrodites would do well to pay attention not just to reps at the gym, but also to establishing a solid oral hygiene regimen. After all, the previously mentioned natural reflex to back away from dangerous scents is burrowed deep into our brains.
For a mouth that matches the attractiveness of your six-pack abs, here's what to do:
I go into greater detail about each of these important steps in this brief guide. Follow it twice a day for a week. You'll be astonished at the improvement in the cleanness and freshness of your mouth and breath.
We might not be able to give you Aniston's figure or Gable's cleft chin. But the co-stars of your daily life will be impressed - and won't shy away when it's time for a close-up.