Second only to Halloween in candy consumption, Valentine’s Day must be a dentist’s nightmare. The stores are filled with candy, and even schoolchildren get in on the fun. Healthy dental habits are a necessity if you want to avoid cavities after all the chocolate and Sweethearts candy.
Enjoy your candy (and brush afterward!). But for some, there is a deeper issue: BAD BREATH.
Bad Breath on Valentine’s Day
Many people see Valentine’s Day as a special time to get all close and cuddly with their significant other, but if you struggle with bad breath, this could be your worst nightmare. A top CNN article today interviews Dr. Katz of Therabreath (click here to see our very own exclusive interview with Dr. Katz!). Here’s an excerpt from the article entitled “Bad breath? Break free – and how to tell a friend“:
The first thing to do is determine if your breath is fresh or foul. Most people with stinky breath aren’t even aware they have it, because the brain becomes acclimated to one’s own personal scent. The good news is there are ways to self-diagnose.
Start with a tongue check. What color is it? A pink, shiny tongue indicates fresh breath. However, a tongue that’s white and scaly in appearance can indicate bad breath, according to Dr. Harold Katz, bacteriologist and founder of the California Breath Clinic.
Smelling your own breath in cupped hands is not the best way to check for halitosis, Katz says. Instead, lick the back of your hand, let it dry for a few seconds, and then smell the surface.
Alvarez’ fears of bad breath had her so self-conscious she avoided kissing her significant other. “I would brush my teeth but was still worried he’d think I was gross.”
It’s important to remember that bad breath is typically not a sign of bad dental hygiene. “It usually has nothing to do with teeth,” Katz says. “You can have good teeth, rotten teeth or no teeth at all and still have bad breath. It has to do with the tongue.”
Think of your tongue as a shaggy carpet and your mouth as a mobile chemistry lab. More than 600 types of bacteria are found in the average mouth. Many of those bacteria get trapped under the surface of the tongue and cause the bad breath.
How to Have Fresh Breath
The issue won’t immediately disappear, but you can bypass embarrassment with these affordable dental solutions:
- Drink plenty of water! Not only does it rinse your mouth of any lingering, smelly food particles, it also encourages saliva to flow in your mouth, which helps fight bacteria. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria!
- Avoid foods like garlic and onions, soda, fish and coffee, the odors of which are absorbed into your bloodstream until the food leaves your body. Instead, try drinking green tea and eating crunchy fruits and vegetables, which scrub the teeth. Cinnamon also helps.
- Don’t rely on breath mints or chewing gum. They are very helpful for masking odors in a pinch, but they don’t solve the original problem.
This Valentine’s Day, your most important trip to the store might take you right past all the copious amounts of pink and red merchandise and straight to the oral health care aisle. After you pick up some roses and a box of chocolates along the way, of course.