So, you've bought the candy, the diamond necklace, made the reservations at her favorite restaurant and had your suit cleaned and pressed. Still, even if you earn that special Valentine's Day kiss, it won't make a difference if your breath is so bad that it could motivate the dog to leave the room.
If you drink coffee, smoke or just eat spicy food regularly, you could suffer from halitosis (chronic bad breath) that could strip the varnish off a foot locker. But, worry not -- help is on the way. Dr. Harold Katz, founder of the number one oral care website, www.therabreath.com, and author of The Bad Breath Bible has some advice.
Dr. Katz offers these tips to make sure your breath is up to the task of winning your Valentine:
Where BAD BREATH hides ON VALENTINES DAY:
- Milk Chocolate and Candy Hearts: Candy hearts are usually full of sugar, the surest way to grow bacteria in the laboratory. In milk chocolate, the combination of dairy proteins and sugar fuels the bad breath bacteria. Dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate is a much better choice.
- Onions and Garlic, but also cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels Sprouts: All of these vegetables have one thing in common - they contain a high concentration of sulfur compounds, similar to the chemicals produced by the bad breath bugs.
- Champagne, wine, beer, and other adult beverages: Alcohol is a drying agent and we know that a dry mouth guarantees bad breath (and very unpleasant kissing). If you are planning on drinking on Valentine's Day, make sure you drink a glass of water in between each glass of alcohol. It will not only keep your breath fresher, but it will also help prevent hangovers, which are typically caused by the dehydrating affect of alcohol.
- Nineteenth century oral hygiene products: Believe it or not, the vast majority of mouthwash and toothpaste formulas have not changed in over 100 years. Almost every mouthwash contains a high concentration of alcohol (makes the mouth dry); most toothpaste formulas contain the harsh detergent Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, (the chemical term for soap). It's used to make your toothpaste foam up. Breath mints and chewing gum can contain sugar. And, some of the coloring agents used to make the marketable are derived from crushed insects (one brand of orange-colored mouthwash uses the juice of crushed beetles - cochineal extract)!
- Prevent Morning-After Breath - Remember, oxygenating your mouth prevents bad breath, so drink more water and make use of oxygenated chewing gum or breath product before bed.
How to keep your breath its freshest on Valentines Day:
- Drink plenty of water -- the less dry your mouth, the fresher your breath.
- Drink Tea instead of coffee.
- Avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar feeds the bad breath bacteria. Look for sugar free gum and mints, such as French Kiss Gum (www.frenchkissgum.com).
- If you're going to eat chocolate, choose dark chocolate - less sugar and no dairy.
- Look for fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water such as Celery, watermelon, strawberries, apples.
- Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol or toothpaste that contains detergent (SLS); they can make your mouth dry. Instead, look for new OXYGENATING formulas that attack the anaerobic bacteria and convert sulfur smells to odorless chemicals. Look for brands such as TheraBreath, PerioTherapy, and TheraBRITE (www.therabreath.com).
- Read the BIBLE - The Bad Breath Bible, that is, the definitive book on fresh breath and oral health (www.badbreathbible.com).