“You’ve got something in your teeth…” These are six words you never want to hear, particularly when romance is in the air. First dates are all about first impressions. Want to make a good one? Make sure your mouth isn’t a minefield to help you attract that special someone.
Know the Basics
If your date involves food, there will always be a risk that some food particles remain on your teeth, or get stuck between them. Not only is this unattractive, but the food particles will get broken down by germs, releasing bad odors.
You don't have to have an entire tooth-cleaning kit strapped to your back, but small, discreet items can really help you out in case of an emergency. An airline-sized toothbrush and toothpaste could fit in your back pocket. Chewing gum or mints can be lifesavers, but do bear in mind that they are a short-term solution – they won't get rid of the germs that are actually causing bad breath. Another valuable tool is a tongue scraper. They are usually compact, inexpensive to purchase at a pharmacy, and freshen your mouth if you are prone to a fuzzy, yellowish tongue.
Everyone knows garlic is a no-no if you want to end the night with a romantic kiss, but another watch-out is meat. Protein particles are notorious for getting stuck in the crevices of your teeth, leading to bad breath.
Did you know?
If you eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, you are at risk for a condition known as ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of sugar, causing bad mouth odors.
The people’s consensus
In a US survey of over 1,000 people, only 1 in 7 said they would be able to overlook someone's bad breath on a date. More than half — 58% to be precise — said they would stop being attracted to someone with bad breath, and nearly half of all women said they would end a relationship if their partner had consistently bad breath.
Use the environment
If you're out and about, there's always something that can help maintain good breath. At a restaurant? They may have a toothpick you can hastily use, post-meal. At a bar? Look for celery sticks or other crunchy foods that act as cleaners, sloughing off particles that are clinging in your mouth. You can even use the back of a spoon to check your reflection while your date is in the bathroom, ensuring that you don't have to hear that phrase: "You have something in your teeth."