It seems that oral health issues are standing in the way of success in the dating arena more often than realized (and admitted). According to results from a recent DentaVox survey, 68% of respondents stopped dating someone because of the partner’s bad teeth or foul breath. In contrast, just 22% realize a dating mate might have turned a back on them for the same reason. For the majority of people, bad breath was the deal-breaking oral health issue to stop seeing someone.

Illustrated in the infographic below, here are the key findings from the survey:

Bad Oral Health The Hidden Dating Turn off

Download infographic (pdf).

Attractive smile is a key asset for successful love life

Smile is the first thing more than half of the survey participants notice about someone they find attractive. Naturally, for 88% of respondents it is important to date a person with a nice smile. This result is in line with the findings from a social experiment of an online dating platform. The experiment revealed that people with bad teeth on their profile photo received far less attention from prospective partners. Similarly, in another study, the majority of participants ranked good teeth as the number one feature of a date-mate. These findings come in support of the common belief that dental appearance can play a crucial role for success in the dating world.

Oral health issues can sabotage dating success

Far more often than realized, bad teeth or breath can be the real cause to stop seeing a dating partner. For such reasons, 68% of respondents had left a partner compared to just 22% who admit they had been left.

Most people who leave a date with bad oral health did not disclose the true reason for their decision. Just 14% were straight-forward with the partner and most people gave a completely different explanation for their decision. This leaves people unaware and might be an explanation for the mismatch mentioned above.

Generally, the results resonate with previous findings. For instance, a UK survey identified bad oral health as the biggest turn-off on a first date.

Bad breath is the most common dating turn-off

From all oral health issues, foul breath appears to be the biggest enemy to success in the dating arena. 57% of respondents who left a partner with bad breath pointed it out as the troublesome dental issue.

A previous survey in the UK found that up to 85% of people are dissuaded from going on a second date if the other person had bad breath. The difference in results may be because the DentaVox survey does not specify an exact time when the issue was detected. Possibly other experiences from more than one date influenced the outcome as well.

Better oral hygiene is the most popular measure after dating setback

What happens to people who have been turned off due to their poor oral health? While 68% of them focus on oral hygiene habits, just 35% turn to a specialist for treatment. At first glance, it looks like a good starting point. However, oral care at home might not be sufficient on its own. For instance, in the case of untreated problems like gingivitis or caries, bad breath will be only temporarily affected.

For more insights and stats from “Dating & Oral Health” Survey and other 107 dental health topics: