With Valentine's Day tomorrow, who doesn't want to know what turns off partners? Unsurprisingly, bad breath tops the list, according to a recent poll from oral care product company SmartMouth and research firm OnePoll.
Of 2,000 U.S. respondents, 52% found bad breath to be the biggest turnoff when meeting a new partner. Halitosis beat out bad hygiene/body odor (47%), a bad sense of humor (35%), and cockiness/overconfidence (28%).
Respondents also reported that nothing ruins a first kiss like bad breath. Nearly 40% reported that bad breath ruins a first kiss followed by inexperience or lack of technique (15%), or a lack of chemistry (9%), according to the poll results, which was conducted in late 2022.
Also, respondents recognized how less-than-fresh breath affects their self-confidence, especially during important life events. The moments that had people most worried about bad breath were going on a date (48%) and interviewing for a job (40%).
Sorry, dentists, patients weren't nearly as worried about bad breath when visiting the dentist. Only 16% were concerned about bad breath when they go to appointments, according to the results.
"This survey shows how important fresh breath is, in terms of its influence on one's self-confidence, as well as on interpersonal relationships," SmartMouth CEO Jim Scheetz said in a press release dated February 2.
Though individuals were aware of bad breath and how it affects their lives and others, many weren't aware of what caused it. Most (41%) pointed to food as the culprit followed by bacteria (36%), smoking (35%), dry mouth (28%), and sulfur gas (12%). Volatile sulfur compounds, which arise from dental plaque and oral bacteria, are major contributing factors to bad breath.
"My hope is more people become educated about sulfur gas's role in causing bad breath so they can take the necessary steps to eliminate it -- and bad breath," Scheetz said.