10 February 2015

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, a leading charity says it is the perfect opportunity to pucker up and take a look at our oral health.

The British Dental Health Foundation says a simple smile can make others feel at ease around you and can be a powerful show of emotion, which can prove remarkably attractive to the opposite sex.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes we should be showing off our smiles more often and it could be the key for a successful Valentine's date.

Dr Carter says: "When preparing for a date we probably spend more time and money on our hair or the clothes we wear, rather than caring for our teeth. Smiling shows confidence and can be particularly endearing. Studies have shown smiling can have a positive effect on our relationships, careers and overall image.

"We can also tell a lot about a person from their smile. A great smile can be a good measurement of overall hygiene and general lifestyle, demonstrating someone's cleanliness while revealing what they eat and drink, as well as if they smoke or not."

While a healthy smile can be beneficial for attraction, the opposite can be said of poorer oral health.

A new poll by the charity has revealed our partner's biggest smiles crimes, with men named as the guiltiest culprits of bad oral health habits.

Respondents cited ‘food stuck between the teeth' as their greatest turn-off ahead of the most romantic day of the year, claiming 40 per cent of the overall vote.

Bad breath (24 per cent), stained teeth (21 per cent) and not brushing twice a day (16 per cent), made up the remainder of our partner faux pas.

In a battle of the sexes, more than three quarters (76 per cent) pointed the finger firmly towards the men, marking them as the ones with the worst oral health habits.

Love Your Mouth-Top tips for a kissable mouth Infographic"It doesn't matter how expensive your bouquet was or how posh the restaurant is, if you haven't got clean teeth the chances are your date won't be impressed. All of these smile crimes are an instant turn-off, but they continue to affect many of us on a regular basis," Dr Carter adds.

"By adopting a simple but effective daily oral hygiene routine we can eliminate all of these bloopers.

"Brushing your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist as often as they recommend, are some of the most basic things we can do but all will make a positive difference to the health of our mouths.

"Food being stuck between the teeth may be our number one oral health bugbear when it comes to romance but only one in five regularly clean between their teeth. To help remedy this, use interdental brushes or dental floss to clean between your teeth at least once a day."

Ahead of Valentine's Day, the British Dental Health Foundation have released ‘Love your mouth' top tips for a kissable mouth (see right and click to view).


1. BRITISH DENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION (2015) ‘What is your partner's biggest smile crime?' sample 218, online at www.dentalhealth.org/yoursay

2.BRITISH DENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION (2015) ‘Who has the worst oral health habits?' sample 241, online at www.dentalhealth.org/yoursay