A smile is the perfect matchmaker

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  Posted by: Dental Design      6th May 2024

How important is your patients’ oral health when they are looking to enter a new relationship? It’s certainly not the only factor that comes into play, but a link between dental health and social confidence has become more prominent in recent decades.

For some patients, oral health factors such as bad breath, and their smile as a whole, may be a conscious concern which affects the way they go about their social relationships. However, it may also be a problem which impacts other people’s perceptions of them – with judgements often made early and quickly.

The perfect smile

It’s no surprise that research has shown physical attraction to be a dominating factor in dating.[i] Dental appearance is one of the most important facial features during social interactions, and when dental attractiveness decreases, people are seen to focus their attention more on the mouth of another individual.[ii]

Tooth alignment contributes greatly to dental attractiveness. A 2017 study found that all smile types that were not a ‘normal’ dentition (including a lack of incisal show, a gummy smile, crowding, an open bite and diastema) negatively impacted the social perception of both genders, including the willingness to go to dinner with an individual.[iii]

Teenagers in particular have been reported to think that it’s easier to find a romantic partner after orthodontic treatment, alongside a job and an improved quality of life.[iv] This may not only be because of our perception of others, but the effect of malocclusions on self-esteem, which is especially pronounced amongst adolescents.[v]

Whilst orthodontic treatment cannot guarantee improved dating prospects, it may form a part of the motivation to seek treatment, with an aim to improve social confidence.

Deep breaths

A patient’s interactions with those in their social circles, and their attempts to create a romantic relationship, may not just be hindered by the visual appearance of their teeth. In fact, bad breath could be the biggest obstacle they face.

Amongst British adults, oral malodour was deemed a greater faux-pas than bad jokes, a terrible dress sense, lateness and poor manners in a 2019 survey.[vi] 80% of participants felt that if a date had bad breath, they wouldn’t go for a second meeting.vi

There is a variety of reasons a patient could have bad breath, as you will know. This includes everyday acts such as smoking and the consumption of strong-smelling or spicy foods and drinks, or greater oral health issues, such as gingival disease, the presence of caries or an infection.[vii] Other medical conditions, such as dry mouth, tonsilitis and acid reflux, could also be the cause of a distinct and unwelcome odour.vii

Living with bad breath is understandably difficult, and can cause significant embarrassment and depression when considering its social stigma.[viii] It would be easy to assume that if this affects a patient’s chances of a romantic relationship, it would fuel their anxiety and unhappiness with the condition. Evidence has even shown that those suffering from halitosis will often experience a social barrier between those closest to them, created invertedly by the sufferer, or by other people that surround them,[ix] which sends their happiness into greater disarray.

A date night fix

A high number of people experience halitosis, with some estimates putting the prevalence at around 50% of the population.[x] To improve the oral health and everyday lives of these patients, and potentially aid their social interactions in turn, clinicians must be prepared with a variety of solutions. This often means emphasising the need for good oral health, with effective daily brushing and the use of interdental cleaning solutions.

An appointment with a dental hygienist might be the best opportunity to displace any plaque and tartar that has developed following a poorly followed oral hygiene routine, which could be the cause of bad breath.

However, patients may be seeking a more immediate aid that they can rely on as part of their own routine. Clinicians could recommend the 12-Hour Fresh Breath Oral Rinse from The Breath Co, an effective solution crafted to harness the natural germ fighting ability of oxygen to identify and eliminate the source of bad breath. Patients are guaranteed to feel a new wave of confidence for up to 12 hours, with the long-lasting mouth rinse available in mild and icy mint flavourings.

Our smile is essential when connecting with our people, especially so in romantic settings. For some patients, their oral health may be a factor for concern that they feel is getting in their way of these social relationships. Luckily, dental professionals are best placed to provide effective care, and have a greater effect in a patient’s life.


For more information about The Breath Co, please visit http://www.thebreathco.com/  


Alison Reid RDH GDC 5615 – Qualified from Dundee dental hospital with dip dental hygiene 1999 – Qualified dental nurse NEBN – Scotvec Assessor for dental nurses – Professional Educator for Waterpik


[i] Fugère, M. A., (2017). Why Physical Attraction Matters, and When It Might Not. Psycholoy Today. (Online) Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/dating-and-mating/201701/why-physical-attraction-matters-and-when-it-might-not [Accessed January 2024]

[ii] Khela, S., Newton, J. T., & Jeremiah, H. G. (2020). The effect of malocclusion on dating prospects. Journal of orthodontics47(1), 30-37.

[iii] Azeem, M., Bilal, M. A., Ayaz, M., & Ul Haq, A. (2017). Influence of Malocclusions In Development of New Relationships. J Pak Dent Assoc26(4), 146-50.

[iv] Samsonyanová, L., & Broukal, Z. (2014). A systematic review of individual motivational factors in orthodontic treatment: facial attractiveness as the main motivational factor in orthodontic treatment. International journal of dentistry2014.

[v] Taibah, S. M., & Al-Hummayani, F. M. (2017). Effect of malocclusion on the self-esteem of adolescents. Journal of orthodontic science6(4), 123.

[vi] Oral Health Foundation, (2019). Bad breath is biggest barrier to landing your Valentine’s Day date, reveals survey. (Online) Available at: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/bad-breath-is-biggest-barrier-to-landing-your-valentines-day-date-reveals-survey [Accessed January 2024]

[vii] NHS, (2021). Bad Breath. (Online) Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/ [Accessed January 2024]

[viii] Mento, C., Lombardo, C., Milazzo, M., Whithorn, N. I., Boronat-Catalá, M., Almiñana-Pastor, P. J., … & Zoccali, R. A. (2021). Adolescence, adulthood and self-perceived halitosis: a role of psychological factors. Medicina57(6), 614.

[ix] Azodo, C. C., & Ogbebor, O. G. (2019). Social distance towards halitosis sufferers. Swiss Dent J129(12), 1026-30.

[x] Aylıkcı, B. U., & Çolak, H. (2013). Halitosis: From diagnosis to management. Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine4(1), 14.

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