LONDON — A little mouthwash can go a long way, especially in the office. A recent study found that millions of workers dread talking to certain co-workers because of their bad breath.
A survey of 2,000 working adults in the United Kingdom found that 63% force themselves to turn away from co-workers mid-conversation because of halitosis, the scientific name for bad breath. The study was commissioned by UltraDex One Go, a single-use breath freshener company.
In fact, some workers’ mouths consistently emit such a putrid odor that one in five respondents “can’t bear” to even engage in conversation with specific colleagues because of their notoriously bad breath. Participants in the study highlighted “cigarette breath” and general “morning breath” as the worst culprits of the bad breath epidemic.
“Bad breath can be extremely off-putting. Bad breath can be due to many factors but living a fast-paced, ‘on the go’ lifestyle often means eating on the hoof and drinking caffeine to stay awake,” says Dr. Mervyn Druian, a dentist based in London, in a statement. “This all impacts on our breath, but there are things people can do to battle smelly breath instantly to banish odor and inhibit the harmful bacteria which can cause bad breath.”
Researchers calculated that people deal with a co-worker’s awful mouth stench twice a day on average.
If you’ve ever thought about telling a person about their problem, but couldn’t muster up the courage, you’re in a large boat. Only 15 percent of respondents said they would tell a friend if they thought their breath reeked. Yet a third say they’ve been told by someone else when they were suffering from halitosis.
Of course, some people are quite aware of the issue. More than three quarters of respondents say having bad breath makes them feel less confident. Participants found themselves believing their breaths smelled after eating lunch or drinking coffee. One in twenty worry as soon as they begin the commute into work.
The study also found that, while 30% of the participants carry around “emergency” breath mints and gum, most respondents cited mouthwash as the most effective way of battling bad breath.