Nothing stops a romantic moment in its tracks faster than bad breath. Leaning into your date and getting a whiff of onions, garlic, burrito or worse is a real mood killer that doesn’t bode well for a possible second date. Many people turn to Tic Tacs, gum or mouthwash strips to keep their breath kissing fresh when they go on a date. While these quick fixes can help, they merely mask the problem and are no match for serious dragon breath.
Bad breath occurs when the proteins in the food you eat or in your mucous secretions are broken down by the bacteria on your tongue, releasing stinky sulfur compounds. Nature’s natural antidote is oxygen, delivered to your mouth by saliva. If your body fails to produce adequate saliva, nothing happens to neutralize those smelly compounds and your breath starts to smell like week-old garbage.
Bad breath can be caused by many things, but the primary causes are poor oral hygiene, nasal drip from a cold or allergies, medications that cause dry mouth, your diet and inadequate hydration. Fortunately, you can take steps to tame the dragon and make your breath kissing fresh.
- Hydrate. To maintain adequate saliva production, keep your body well hydrated. Eight glasses of water a day are recommended. You’ll get the most benefit if you drink your water straight up.
- Brush. Good oral hygiene is critical to keeping your breath sweet-smelling. Brush your teeth and tongue, use a mouthwash that fights plaque and gingivitis and see your dentist annually.
- Crunch. Chow down on crunchy, fibrous veggies like cucumbers and celery which produce more saliva because of their high water content. Crunchy veggies also help remove plaque that can feed odor-causing bacteria.
- Chew. Sugar-free gum increases saliva production. Look for gum with natural sweeteners like xylitor or sorbitol.