A national survey has found almost 8 in 10 Aussies believe they have bad breath to some degree and are equally anxious about it; so much so they would prefer to confront a friend about their partner cheating. The report commissioned by LISTERINE® Go! Tabs explored the state of bad breath anxiety in Australia, uncovering the broader social impacts the issue can have.
A fear of bad breath is one of the most anxiety inducing social situations for a large majority of Australians, the survey found. In fact, bad breath anxiety is so severe that Aussies are more fearful of being told they have poor smelling breath or telling a friend they had bad breath than being bitten by a spider or public speaking to a group of people.
Australian dentist and oral hygiene expert, Dr David Hills said, "Bad breath is definitely up there with the most common reasons for patients coming into the clinic. More and more, we're seeing patients anxious about their breath and desperately looking for effective solutions, for everyday situations. Sometimes there's a health reason contributing to bad breath, but often it's also needing to improve their daily oral care routines.
It might seem trivial, but we can all relate to the embarrassment of being called out for having bad breath in an intimate situation. What is concerning is the extent of anxiety caused, by worrying about having fresh breath all the time and being prepared in any situation."
LISTERINE® scientists have developed a revolutionary, world-first solution to address the need for truly fresh breath and a whole-mouth clean, anytime and anywhere. LISTERINE® GO! TABS™ come in the form of a solid tablet, that transforms into a liquid once chewed, to be easily swished around the entire mouth and then swallowed – all in less than one minute.
Belinda Driscoll, Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson Pacific said, "We know that bad breath anxiety can be crippling, especially in a social or work setting. We are very excited to be offering a new way to eliminate bad breath odours, allowing those worried about breath freshness to get on with their day, with total confidence.
LISTERINE® has been redefining oral care for over a century, exploring new and innovative ways to improve oral care and breath. Our new product, LISTERINE® Go! Tabs will deliver long lasting fresh breath for up to three hours, making a huge difference to Australians anxious about having bad breath on-the-go."
The survey found 81 per cent of Australians are going out of their way to avoid being caught out and unprepared with bad smelling breath. In fact, over half of them are changing their regular social behaviour and would go as far as cancelling a date, staying home, not eating or dodging a conversation. Just 17 percent of Aussies are excusing themselves to brush their teeth, yet one in four will avoid eating certain foods they enjoy, saving the embarrassment and anxiety associated of bad breath.
Dr Hills continued, "Interestingly, the research found only a small number of people are currently using mouthwash or other full mouth clean options to solve bad breath on-the-go, opting to avoid social situations or certain foods instead1. For our patients, we would always recommend bolstering their oral healthcare routine by using mouthwash, but it's not always convenient to do so. This tells us there is a need for a quick and efficient option that will allow people to get on with their day, with fresh breath confidence to reduce their anxiety."
LISTERINE® GO! TABS™ are scientifically proven to deliver fresh breath for three hours and should form an integral part of an overall oral healthcare routine daily. The innovative technology in the product eliminates those bad breath odours, providing long lasting fresh breath in an accessible format.
Findings from the national survey on bad breath anxiety include:
81% of us will go out of our way to avoid being caught out with bad breath. This increases to 92% for those aged between 25 – 34
Women are more likely to suffer bad breath anxiety, with 87% worrying to some degree compared to 72% of men
Queenslanders are the most likely to admit to having bad breath (74%)
Aussie women are more likely to tolerate their dog's bad breath, than their partner's bad breath
85% of us have fallen victim to someone's bad breath in a social, professional or intimate setting
Aussies voted public speaking or being bitten by a spider less stressful than having bad breath.
Question: What causes bad breath?
Dr David Hills: The most common causes of bad breath are related to poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, pungent foods and smoking.
Just like human beings, bacteria require food to survive. They also create waste in the process. For some bacteria in our mouths, the waste product is a very smelly sulphur compound that is often the root cause of a person's bad breath. Individuals who do not brush, floss or rinse on a daily basis tend to have more bad breath bacteria in their mouths.
When we are dehydrated (and whilst sleeping), our bodies production of saliva decreases. Saliva is extremely important for good oral health as it contains enzymes that destroy bad bacteria, it washes away food particles stuck in your teeth and prevents the release of the smelly sulfur compounds into the air as we breathe out.
The same chemicals responsible for the powerful smells found in foods such as garlic, cheese, spices and onions can have an effect on your breath. Dairy often causes a double problem as it also thickens nasal mucous, which is a source of nutrients for the bacteria that cause bad breath.
The act of smoking causes a dry mouth, which creates an environment allowing pungent bacteria to thrive, which in turn leads to bad breath.
Question: What products are best to have on hand to treat bad breath?
Dr David Hills: Although it would be ideal to brush, floss and rinse to remove the bad breath bacteria it poses a challenge when we are out and about. Easy on the go products such as Listerine Go! Tabs are all great options to treat bad breath when you are on-the-go, whether you're travelling, rushing to and from work meetings, or in the car on your way to meet friends.
Question: Why do we have so much anxiety around bad breath?
Dr David Hills: According to a recent survey from Listerine Go! Tabs, 81 per cent of Australians are going out of their way to avoid being caught out and unprepared with bad smelling breath. The anxiety I believe relates to the fear of being embarrassed in public or in an intimate situation. It's embarrassing if you a caught out with bad breath and equally as embarrassing to tell someone they have bad breath.
Question: Can you share your top tips on keeping bad breath away?
Dr David Hills: Increase your saliva flow and prevent dehydration. Drink lots of water throughout the day and limit your intake of caffeine
Don't feed the bacteria and limit your intake of sugary foods
Brush, floss and rinse with a mouthwash at least twice per day. If you wear dentures, clean your dentures daily and store in water at night. Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth
Brush before breakfast to avoid ingesting the bad bacteria that have multiplied in your mouth all night. Brushing before you eat will decrease the likelihood of smelly breath during the day
As part of your oral hygiene routine, using an on-the-go solution in between brushes twice a day will eliminate bad odours and leave you with a full mouth clean feeling throughout the day, especially when you're on the move
Clear your airway. Blow your nose or use a saline nasal spray when you are congested. Mucous that becomes stagnant or remains in the nasal passages for more than 24 hours will become a food source for bad breath bacteria.
Visit your dentist regularly. Keeping up with your oral hygiene and discussing any concerns with your dentist early will help you prevent any issues with bad breath.
Interview by Brooke Hunter