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PR Newswire Europe Limited

Grin, Don’t Share It

PR Newswire Europe Limited (9 June 2004)

A third of Brits would not tell their best friend if they had bad breath. So says a new survey, which discovered that bad breath is possibly the UK’s deadliest taboo.

And surprisingly, men are more honest than women when it comes to the delicate subject of bad breath. Over a third of British men (34%) would quite happily let their colleagues know about their office oral odours compared to just under a quarter (22%) of women in a survey released by Colgate Total Advanced Fresh.

In fact, bad breath is such a no-no, it’s our biggest turn off for when it comes to sex. Two thirds of Brits say it would put them off the opposite sex—more than the likes of bad skin, baldness in men or too much make up on women.

Telling the family is no easier. Telling your partner would be stressful—more than a tenth of people surveyed (12%) would find it too hard. We can’t rely on the older generation either, as pensioners found it hardest to pick someone up for ponging, with over a quarter (26%) saying they wouldn’t tell anyone.

A Colgate spokesperson said: “The nation adapts a very “British” attitude to taboo subjects like bad breath. Hopefully we can help make business meetings and first dates run a little more smoothly with Total Advanced Fresh, as its clinically proven to provide 12 hours of fresh breath.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Salah Fadl said: “People find it very difficult to tell someone they know that they have bad breath because nobody wants to be perceived as repulsive. We want to be presentable and to think that we look good and smell good—which is impossible if we know we have bad breath.


12 Bad Breath Facts

1.   Approximately 25% of people in the UK suffer from halitosis on a regular basis

2.   The majority of the adult population, on occasion and especially after waking up in the morning—will experience stale or bad breath.

3.   Most people in the UK do not brush their teeth effectively. It should take two to three minutes to completely brush all tooth surfaces. Good dental hygiene, i.e. regular brushing and flossing will help to eliminate bad breath.

4.   Most people spend just 30-40 seconds brushing their teeth. This means they are bound to miss tooth surfaces where bacteria accumulate and which creates odorous ‘volatile sulphur compounds’, resulting in bad breath.

5.   Bad breath arises from the back of the mouth where bacteria feeds off the mucus and food particles creating odourous sulphur compounds.

6.   Over 170 different types of bacteria live in our mouths—as many as 50% of bacteria that causes bad breath can be found on the back of the tongue.

7.   We don’t produce bad breath until we actually speak. Bad breath often originates near the back of the mouth and is propelled forward and out of the mouth only when we talk.

8.   It is a myth that we can smell our own breath odour through cupping our hands over our mouths and nose. This is because we have become accustomed to our own odours.

9.   Many foods can cause bad breath. Two of the most common culprits are onions and cabbage, which contain high amounts of sulphur compounds. When digested, the sulphur compounds are absorbed into the blood stream and carried to the lungs, where they are then exhaled as we breathe causing bad breath.

10.   A dry mouth is a perfect environment for odour causing bacteria. Saliva acts as a kind natural mouthwash by keeping the mouth moist, washing away bacteria, and dissolving foul smelling volatile sulphur compounds.

11.   Sleeping, dieting, fasting, or talking for long periods of time reduces saliva flow and increases the likelihood of to bad breath. In addition, certain medications, alcohol consumption, and breathing through the nose during exercise can cause the mouth to become dry, contributing to the problem.

12.   Your dentist can give you an accurate assessment of bad breath by using a Halimeter. By blowing into a straw like tube attached to the Halimeter, you can measure the amount of stale mouth causing volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) in the breath.