If you have a significant other in your life, it’s likely that you two will celebrate Valentine’s Day together this year. You may have even started to make plans.
On a holiday meant for romance, nothing ruins a moment like bad breath or remnants of food in your teeth. By keeping your breath fresh and your teeth clean, you can make sure your mouth is ready for a kiss with that special someone.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), half of the adult population has suffered from chronic bad breath—also known as halitosis—at one point in their lives. Whether it’s halitosis or just not your best day for oral hygiene, a combination of the following tips can help you stay fresh and prepared for that special moment:
Watch what you consume: It’s no secret that certain foods and drinks can leave a strong taste in your mouth. Oftentimes, if you can still taste it, others can smell it; the aroma is expelled when you talk and breathe. When trying to maintain fresh breath, avoid garlic, onions, dairy, coffee, alcohol and other items with strong or pungent ingredients.
Don’t smoke: In addition to causing many other serious health problems, smoking can leave your breath smelling unpleasant. It may also put you at risk for gum disease, which is another cause of bad breath.
Brush your teeth: Brushing helps to eliminate the bacteria that causes bad breath. It’s important to brush twice a day with a toothbrush that fits your mouth properly. In addition to using a fluoride toothpaste to prevent decay, cleaning in between your teeth also helps to remove cavity causing plaque and odorous bacteria brushing may have missed.
Don’t neglect your tongue: Bacteria that causes bad breath often resides on the tongue, so don’t forget to clean this part of your mouth when brushing your teeth. You can use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to scrub away smelly bacteria.
Use mouthwash: While this should not replace any other steps in cleaning your mouth, mouthwash can be an effective addition to your oral hygiene routine. It helps get rid of bacteria and masks bad breath for a limited time. Talk to your dentist to decide what kind of mouthwash is best for you.
While bad breath is a surefire way to interfere with a romantic kiss, having food stuck in your teeth is also never appealing. Unfortunately, most food has the potential to stick around. When trying to keep your teeth as clean as possible, it’s especially important to avoid foods like popcorn, spinach, chewy meats and anything with seeds.
Flossing can help to remove lingering food particles from teeth, as well as plaque that contains bacteria. Keeping floss on hand is an effective way to maintain clear teeth after meals and it’s safer than using toothpicks, which can damage tooth enamel and cut your gums. Keeping your teeth clear of stains is integral to sporting an appealing smile. In addition to the food listed above, avoid red wine, berries, coffee and tobacco, which are all known to stain teeth.
Regularly visiting your dentist is another effective way to ensure good oral hygiene. In addition to contributing to fresh breath and clean teeth, dentists can identify serious problems—like gum disease—which can make it more difficult to maintain a kiss-ready mouth.
When spending Valentine’s Day with someone you care about, kissing is probably inevitable. Take the necessary steps so you can enjoy the most romantic day of the year.