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5 Foods To Avoid When You Need To Make A Good Impression

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Let's set the scene. You come home and start winding down after a lengthy interview. Walking past the mirror, you flash a congratulatory smile at yourself in your perfectly curated outfit, only to discover something wedged between your teeth. You ask yourself, "How long has that been there?" And, of course, the real kicker, "Why didn't anyone tell me?!" No one wants to be the subject of this cliché.

It seems like embarrassing things happen when first impressions are the most important. So, whether you’re preparing for an interview, going on a date, or meeting someone for the first time, here are some foods to avoid to help you make a good impression.


Nothing packs a hit on self-confidence like looking in the mirror to find stubborn leafy greens prominently impeding the smile you’ve been flashing all day. Not only is spinach vibrant in color, but it is also very soft and can easily mold to teeth undetected.

Tip: If you must have your spinach fix, eat your salad first and let the rest of your meal flush out the lingering leaves. Eating crunchier foods will stimulate your saliva and help flush out any remnants.


Tough meat like ribs or steak may be tempting sources of protein before a big event, but they can also be risky. Meats, particularly chewy ones, have thin strands that can get stuck between your teeth and become pretty difficult to remove, especially without floss handy.

Tip: Eating an apple can help loosen the stubborn meat. Pack an apple in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.


You’ve heard it once, and we’ll say it again. Nothing kills the mood quite like bad breath, and garlic may be the biggest culprit. Not only does garlic create a pungent stench on your breath, but it also seeps into your bloodstream and makes its way out of the body through things, like sweat. If you tend to get nervous sweats, we recommend skipping out on the garlic for a day or two before your big event. You can thank us later.

Tip: Drink a glass of whole milk. Milk deodorizes and reduces some of the natural compounds that make garlic smelly.


While we all resonate with the need to get a daily caffeine fix, coffee is one of the worst breath offenders out there. However, if trading coffee for a cup of caffeinated tea isn’t your style, we recommend getting an early start and enjoying a warm cup of joe followed by a glass of water to rinse out the acids. If you hit an afternoon lull, consider skipping out on a second cup. Between the breath faux pas and the jitters, we think you’ll feel more confident to rock it, even slightly under-caffeinated.

Tip: Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking coffee. Brushing too soon can spread the acid around your mouth and weaken the enamel.


First impressions can be intimidating. But no matter what you're preparing for, confidence and a clean smile can make all the difference!

Tip: Drink a glass of water to help wash away bacteria that dairy leaves in your mouth and save your breath from the stale, lingering odor.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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