Chances are, whether you have someone to kiss this February 14th or not, you will be kissing someone in the (perhaps) near future.

Fresh breath is on everyone’s brain when going in for a smooch (or a business meeting, or meeting the in-laws–insert any pressure cooker of a situation here), and aside from brushing–and flossing–your pearly whites twice a day, what else can you do to make sure your mouth is always on the so fresh and so clean side?

1.  Poor oral hygiene is the number 1 cause of halitosis. Brush and floss, but if you’re prone to a not-so-pleasant odor a good scrape of the tongue helps ensure a mintier mouth. The 49er’s may have forgotten, but the best offense is a good defense.

2. Replace those bristles. When your bristles start to sag and look sadder than usual, it’s time to replace your toothbrush. It matters for your hygiene and it matters to the person your about to smooch.

3. Those 1-800-Dentist commercials aren’t lying to make a quick buck. Twice a year check-ups and teeth cleanings are essential for a pristine mouth, and help prevent gum disease like gingivitis and foul smells coming from old or broken fillings.

4. You are what you eat. This pertains to your mouth as much as your body. Greasy foods and  high-fat foods are hard for our bodies to digest, so the food hangs around in our digestive tracts for longer, leading to smelly breath. Acidic foods like lemons, tomatoes, peppers all have a high pH balance that harbor bacteria that cause bad breath. Protein-rich foods such as red meat, fish and chicken can cause stinky breath because they produce sulfur waste compounds that linger in your mouth. Basically, any time you eat, brush those puppies.

5. Ever heard of coffee breath? Probably. Coffee is a diuretic and causes dry mouth, which is as common a cause of bad breath–as booze. Make sure if you plan on consuming either, your drinking plenty of water as well.  Water helps wash away unwanted bacteria, and will help alleviate acid and sugars that rot your teeth and smell up your mouth.

6. Eat your fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and minerals in most fruits and veggies will help counteract the bad bacteria in your mouth. They also aid in digestion, which based on the above, we know that the longer food sits in your stomach, the worse your breath smells.

7. Don’t smoke. Don’t over-consume. Don’t think this really needs too much of an explanation.

–Arianna Schioldager


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