13 June 2016

A healthy smile has been ranked as the physical attribute most likely to attract a new partner, according to new research carried out by leading health charity the Oral Health Foundation.

More than two thirds of those polled (69 per cent) ranked it in their top three most attractive attributes, ahead of eyes (64 per cent), face (41 per cent) and body shape (24 per cent). The only attribute that achieved more votes than a smile was personality (71 per cent).

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, discussed what the findings may mean to our hopes of finding love.

Dr Carter said: “I think it is fair to say that our oral health is closely related to attraction and our chances of finding love. A nice smile seems to be a deciding factor between getting a second date or never getting a text back.

“Fortunately, for many people maintaining a nice smile is a relatively simple thing, as long as you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit your dentist regularly, you should be able to dazzle your date with your beautifully natural smile.

The research, part of National Smile Month, a charity campaign to improve the UK’s oral health, also found that bad breath is by far the overwhelming attribute that would put us off a potential partner. Bad breath was judged to be the worst offender by almost nine in every ten people (86 per cent).

More oral health faux-pas that featured in the turn-offs that ranked highly included stained or crooked teeth (54 per cent) and food stuck between teeth (39 per cent).

“When it comes to the dreaded bad breath, making sure you maintain good general oral health the best way to prevent this. Chewing sugar free gum or sucking sugar free mints is also a very effective way of reducing bad breath. Doing so after eating or drinking is a great way to protect your mouth too as it produces saliva which helps fight against acid attack.”

Spokesperson for POLO® Sugar Free, proud sponsor of National Smile Month, Laura Steer, POLO® Brand Manager, comments: “We are delighted to be supporting the Oral Health Foundation. Our latest addition to the POLO Sugar Free family, POLO Sugar Free Extra Strong, is accredited by the Oral Health Foundation as being ‘kind to teeth’. Made with refreshing natural mint oils to refresh your breath on the go, they can also help to reduce the risk of dental erosion.”

Dr Carter continued: “If somebody suffers from persistent bad breath you should visit your dental team as soon as possible to make sure that it is not a sign of a more serious underlying problem such as gum disease or dry mouth.”

Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue. Also, bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell.

“The poll suggests that men are the worst offenders when it comes to having bad breath, in the battle of the sexes men need to really brush up on their personal hygiene habits if they are to succeed in love,” added Dr Carter.

“A whopping nine out of ten (88 per cent) of women said it was a major issue and in general women put far more value on good oral health when it comes to attraction.

“Almost three quarters of women (74 per cent) value a smile more than any other attribute, compared to 65 per cent of men. Our smile is closely linked to our confidence and success so it would appear that women are searching for men with these qualities; I would advise all the men out there to prioritise their oral health if they are looking for love; and make sure you check your breath.

“What is heartening for the future is that a smile is the only physical attribute to be seen as highly important to all ages, another reason for children to start to look after their teeth from a young age.”

The Oral Health Foundation have released the research as part of National Smile Month, which runs until 16 June. The campaign is UK’s largest and longest running charity campaign initiative aimed at increasing awareness of importance of oral health, and this year celebrates its 40th year.

National Smile Month 2016 is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers. Wrigley’s Extra, Oral-B as platinum sponsors of the campaign, with further support from POLO® sugar-free and Philips Sonicare.