Bad breath is the biggest turn-off a new survey has found

bad breath
A new survey has shown bad breath to be the biggest turn-off

Bad breath (41%) came on top of a poll looking for the UK’s biggest turn-offs when looking for a new partner.

The survey asked more than 2,000 Brits and found body odour (34%) followed bad breath, stained teeth (7%), facial hair (6%) and political views (5%) completing the top five turn-offs.

‘As a nation we probably spend more time and money looking after our hair and the clothes we wear, rather than caring for our teeth,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said.

‘The survey is a great reminder that we should be giving greater attention to our teeth – not just because it improves oral health – but because it gives us the confidence to smile, which makes a major difference to our relationships, careers and overall image.’

No date with bad teeth

Previous research has shown more than two thirds of us chose not to date someone because of their bad teeth.

Missing teeth, stained teeth and cracked teeth were also off putting.

The research, carried out by the British Dental Health Foundation, coincides with National Smile Month, the nation’s annual reminder of good oral health, which takes place from 18 May to 18 June, and is supported by platinum sponsors Invisalign, Wrigley and Oral-B, aims to promote good oral health.

‘During National Smile Month, we hope everyone will consider what they can do to improve their oral health,’ Dr Carter continued.

‘Bad breath and stained teeth are both preventable and stem from a lack of oral hygiene.

‘Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell.

‘This can be sorted by cleaning in between teeth with interdental brushes.

‘Although some medical problems may be the cause of bad breath including sinusitis, bronchitis, diabetes, liver or kidney problems, and infections of the nose, throat and lungs, bad breath is most often caused by a lack of good oral hygiene.

‘The bacteria on our teeth that will build up if we don’t brush twice a day will release gases, causing bad breath, so correct and regular brushing is very important to keep our breath smelling fresh.

‘Brushing our tongue, or using a tongue scraper, will also help to reduce bad breath.’


‘If you are a smoker, tobacco use also causes bad breath as well as staining your teeth,’ professional marketing relations senior manager at Philips Oral Healthcare, Mhari Coxon explained.

‘National Smile Month is an excellent opportunity to kick the habit.

‘There are toothpastes available if you wish to remove more stains, but there is no substitute for giving up.

‘See it as a 30-day challenge.

‘Donate the money saved to charity or store the pennies in a jar.

‘You will be surprised how much you save.

‘Smoking also remains the leading cause of mouth cancer.

‘On average, smokers lose about 16 years of their life.

‘Use the campaign as a springboard for stubbing out smoking and paying a visit to the dentist – it could save your life.’

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