Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

Stress causes bad breath epidemic

33 Comments

Of all the idiotic, trivial things that can ruin a person’s life, bad breath has to rank high on anyone’s list of the humiliating tricks fate can play on us. Weekly Playboy (May 25) sounds the alarm: Japan’s collective breath, already bad, is getting worse.

Blame stress. High standards and feverish competition make Japan a stressful place at the best of times, which these recessionary times are not. Assuming the diagnosis of recession halitosis holds, our breath should sweeten as the economy recovers -- if the economy recovers.

Weekly Playboy’s account opens with a personal anecdote concerning a certain “Mr A,” a 31-year-old advertising company employee who, always careful about brushing and flossing, was all the more chagrined to note unmistakable signs of repugnance on the face of a female colleague he was chatting up.

How strange. Why should his breath be foul? His health was good, his stomach apparently fine. True, he was in a state of some anxiety over his precarious finances. Also, lately his mouth often felt strangely dry. Could that be significant?

It is indeed, says Ichiro Saito, a dentistry professor at Tsurumi University and author of a book on “dry mouth” syndrome. The number of patients he’s seeing who suffer from it has increased dramatically over the past five years. Based on his own practice and other research, he estimates 30 million Japanese may be afflicted with it.

The usual causes, stress aside, are aging and medicinal side effects. But Saito was noticing a sharp rise in the number of young sufferers, many of them under stress, though not necessarily economy-related. One of his patients, a company man in his 30s, was being persistently harassed by an older subordinate resentful of his relatively lowly status. Another patient, a “desk worker” in his 20s, found his mouth drying as a romantic relationship turned sour.

Why should stress cause bad breath? As a rule, Saito tells Weekly Playboy, a person secretes 1.5 liters of saliva a day. Salivation is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Have a relaxing massage and notice the flow increase. Quarrel with your boss and your mouth dries. If you think of saliva as a kind of natural mouth wash, the rest of the explanation is easily inferred -- dry equals unclean.

There are those who would say that if bad breath is your biggest worry, your life is on a pretty even keel. But it’s not necessarily so. Surveys consistently show, Weekly Playboy points out, that women are acutely sensitive to a man’s mouth odors. One 20-year-old woman the magazine speaks to sums it up clearly and bluntly: “I don’t care how good-looking a guy is, if his mouth smells like poison gas, I won’t kiss him!”

So chew gum, men, and carry a PET bottle with you for emergency sips (not gulps) when you get that dry-mouth feeling. Perhaps most important of all: chew your food thoroughly. That’s something we’re apt to neglect in hurried, stressful times. In doing so, we don’t make our stress any easier to bear.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
Login to comment

. . . and for God's sake, brush your teeth at least once a week!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smoking, drinking coffee all day and polishing the day off with gyoza and a skinful of beer are all, of course, entirely unconnected to breath freshness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smoking, drinking coffee all day and polishing the day off with gyoza and a skinful of beer are all, of course, entirely unconnected to breath freshness.

LOL! Well said, Ivan!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bad breath pandemic! Now where is the WHO when we need it it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with plasticmonkey and IvanCoughalot.

"chew your food thoroughly"

My mother told me to do thst countless times. I usually do, but I still have stress.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another useless and unsupported study. I do concur with the bad breath issue in Japan, mostly due to smoking I think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quit brushing with natto flavoured toothpaste

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aren't most of the bad-breath-bandits found on the evening train home?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One 20-year-old woman [...] sums it up [...] “I don’t care how good-looking a guy is, if his mouth smells like poison gas, I won’t kiss him!”

Does the breath problem contribute to the low birthrate?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quit brushing with natto flavoured toothpaste

For some I've encountered...that'd be a welcomed first step towards graduating from school of halitosis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'women are acutely sensitive to a man's mouth odors'. sure they are and so are men who have to sit in meetings with these people all day! stress causes bad breathe?! yes, along with the many bad habits previously mentioned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Plastic Monkey,

Why do u say once a week. This is a daily affair!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i thought stress caised suicides?

anyway who cares everyone is wearing masks these days

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@dennis: Stress caused bad breath, bad breath causes suicides.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All this bad breath on public transport stresses me out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the men I know who have bad breath don't give a monkey's what other people think - if you told them, they'd say "so". They wouldn't notice any look of revulsion on a woman's face, or if they did, misinterpret it as one of interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting article...seriously,what is it with Japanese and bad breath,almost every second person just stinks....ladies just as bad as men.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

stress causing bad breath? Would´t be more correct to state that stress makes Japanese smoke 20 cigarretes a day, and that causes bad breath?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah stress right, try raw fish/meat stuck in unwashed teeth, green tea does it too, cigs, beer and dried cuttle fish, natto, ume boshi, sea weed and umpteen dozen lovely things people like to eat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would think that most Japanese are dehydrated...the guys drink either green tea or alcohol, women aren't much better about drinking water. Most old people I know (70s, 80s) drink a cup of tea each meal and that's it. The shocked looks when you say you should drink about 2 liters of water a day...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The morning train whistles to the aroma of bad breath, (don't they ever clean their teeth?) farts, cigarettes and BO. It's a heady cocktail to be sure. If someone has bad breath, just suck on some mints and save the world from their oral aroma.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WMD - hear, hear. The unmistakable waft of long-unlaundered suits adds a nice additional dimension to the pong, I find.

But you can't beat a good, uncovered coffee/nicotine/gyoza/three-days-since-a-toothrush yawn to really blister the paintwork.

And, regardless of the good doctor's hypothesis, it's got nothing to do with stress. People have stress all over the world (contrary to the local misconception).

It's abysmal levels of poor personal hygiene. Not that you need to be Sherlock Holmes, or even a professor at Tsurumi University, to figure that out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's gross

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But damned funny :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Blister the paintwork" LOL...and then some....we use to have a guy whose breath would come at you in waves....first the cigs, then the sushi, then the beer and whisky. It was interesting because it was almost seasonal and then he wondered why the OLs were so quick with their "Hai"....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Knew a student who had such bad breath we called him pesticide man.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stress has nothing to do with people's bad breath in Japan, but cigarettes do. The guy that sits next to me smells like '&%$. Even when he is not around, I can still his nasty smell. And he is not the only one, about 6o% of the males I work with smell really bad.And it's all because they smoke too much. At school (I work in Junior High), inside every single restaurant (including McDonald), and even shopping malls. Euuhh! Nasty and gross :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It can be pure hell in my gym when I use the treadmill or cycling machines and I get stuck next to an oyaji. The bad breath combined with the sweating and B.O. is a killer. For some reason, the swimming pool seems to amplify their breaths too. Yuck. I've a right to ask the gym operators to put up a notice asking oyajis to brush their teeth before using the facilities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fast food like Mac, Wendy's, KFC all cause bad breath. Avoid these pesticides that millions of people, getting fatter everyday, eat everyday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no mention of using a tongue brush - I do it twice a day and the babes keep coming

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the locals had dog breath when the Nikkei was at 39000 too

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Metal mouth also raises the stink-o-meter to Chernobyl-like levels. You know, the "Jaws" look from "The Spy Who Loved Me."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

someone in my office have a bad one .... it's just terrible .. should i tell him?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites