Do bad breath and happiness correlate?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and all you could notice is how bad their breath smelled, or how bad your own breath smelled? Did it negatively impact your experience in the conversation?


International Journal of Dental HygieneIf the answer to both these questions is yes, then it’s quite easy to think that beating bad breath can contribute to overall happiness.  Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is most commonly caused simply by poor oral hygiene. That’s right – just brushing your teeth and tongue as well as flossing more often can stop the buildup of bacteria on and between your teeth, tongue and gums. Not only can this cause bad breath, but it can also cause gum disease and tooth decay. That’s not going to make a person too happy either. 

A study in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene examined the relationship between bad breath and people’s overall quality of life. It found that on average, people with bad breath were two times more likely to be unhappy than those without bad breath. This study questioned people on specific parts of their daily lives and found that those with bad breath had 500% more negative experiences than those who did not. People with bad breath made the claim that having such had a negative psychological impact, especially in self-esteem.

CEO of the Oral Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter OBE says that a person’s outlook on life can be improved with better oral hygiene. He says that it can positively impact their professional and personal relationships as well and claims that ridding oneself of bad breath is fairly easy to achieve.

So what can someone suffering from halitosis do to improve oral hygiene? The first step is to brush your teeth. The Community Dentist Network recommends that people brush their teeth for approximately 2 minutes, spending equal time on each part of their mouth. People should brush AND floss twice daily. More things people can do are rinsing their mouth out with mouthwash after brushing and flossing and clean their tongue as well. They should also try to keep a healthy diet, as certain foods contribute to bad breath. And of course, schedule regular visits with a dentist.

Works Cited

“Is Beating Bad Breath the Key to Happiness?”, 14 October 2016. Accessed 21 October 2016.

“Is beating bad breath the key to happiness?” Oral Health Foundation, 14 October 2016. Accessed 21 October 2016.

“What Your Oral Hygiene Should Consist Of?” 123Dentist. 12 March 2013. Accessed 21 October 2016.




6 thoughts on “Do bad breath and happiness correlate?

  1. Michael Mandarino

    Bad breath is a dealbreaker to me. If I meet someone and they have bad breath I’m probably not gonna want to talk to them again (unless they clean up their mouth and fix their breath, of course). Doesn’t surprise me that people with bad breath aren’t as happy to be honest – thanks for sharing

  2. Nicholas E Schneider

    Great post. I really enjoyed reading your blog and learning a little bit about the correlation between bad breath and happiness because the two are honestly something I’ve never once considered could be related. I’m sure everyone has experienced a conversation with a teacher or classmate, even a friend or relative that was clouded by the individuals bad breath. When all you can focus on is the terrible smell coming from their mouth, it can be nearly impossible to listen to what the individual is actually saying. Selfishly, I’ve for the most part walked away from a conversation with a person who has bad breath feeling sorry for myself for having to endure the person’s terrible breath. However, after reading your article, perhaps next time i converse with a person with bad breath i’ll be particularly nice, as their bad breath could be negatively effecting their whole life.

  3. Alexander Mark Schaefer

    One of the first things I notice when meeting a person is their breath, and while I’ve been at PSU there have been a couple instances that were completely unbearable. I really think that your post is interesting, because this can branch out to many more things. Like you discussed, maybe halitosis can cause unhappiness, or smoking cigarettes. Personal hygiene is very important, especially in one’s happiness.

  4. William Joseph Robbins-cole

    Bad Breath truly is the worst. It is unbearable to have and it is equally unbearable to be around someone who has it. As I have been at Penn State longer and longer I have begun to notice people’s breath more and more. I think that the comment by casey brings up an interesting point that stress may increase bad breath. Here is a list of 6 strange things that cause bad breath; one of them being anxiety.

  5. Bernarda Jarrin Alvear

    In your post you discuss how halitosis affects the happiness of a person. I found this very interesting because I thought that appearance mattered a lot to many but never knew that so much people would have this hygiene problem that suggests to have a strong negative effect on the emotional well being of a person. Since I was intrigued by this I found this WebMed article that talks about other causes for halitosis besides cavities or anything that has to do with the mouth. There are many people who have acid reflux, too much of this creates a bad breath and medication is needed. Also, it discusses how what you bring to your stomach will later reflect on your breathe (I though about onions), and it actually stated that people who eat too much of it will always have a very bad breath. So it seems that everyone needs to be very careful on what they eat. Finally, your post was interesting and you did a great job writing it.

  6. Casey Andrew Schaum

    I would have never thought there would be a correlation between bad breath and happiness but it does make sense. An unhappy person is probably less likely to keep up on oral hygiene and especially if they have low self esteem as you stated. I wonder if there is also a correlation with things such as stress level and social class. For example, people from a lower social class could have bad breath because they don’t have the money to keep up on oral hygiene. I found an article that has some talks about how bad breath could reveal certain things about people. . To my surprise, heart failure, lung cancer and diabetes could all possibly correlate with bad breath. I would have never thought bad breath went beyond poor oral hygiene but it seems as if that is possible. It makes me wonder what other things could possibly be associated with bad breath. It also seems that people with bad breath might have something else to worry about besides their bad breath.

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