08/15/2012 05:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Oral Hygiene Habits of the Interesting: Bizzare Food's Andrew Zimmern

2012-08-15-CREDITSTEVEHENKEHIRES.jpgQ: As a rare and bizarre food enthusiast, is there a special routine you have developed to care for your mouth, taste buds, before and/or after sampling exotic and non-traditional foods?

A: Nope. Ordinary guy with an extraordinary job. I do try to cleanse my palate before eating new foods, but I do that from a necessity standpoint so I can truly appreciate and collect the whole flavor experience. I also have to carry a steroidal rinse for my mouth after contracting burning mouth syndrome seven years ago in Morocco from some tainted cumin. Its viral and has cropped up only twice in last six years.

Q: Do you avoid certain food or drink the day of, or day before, a rare food tasting because of the way it may interact with your ability to detect the taste and flavor of that exotic food?

A: Never. I also never brush my teeth before sex. Seems amateurish to me. If you're not clean at that point you're doing something else wrong, and the fresh minty taste seems like a buzz kill to me.

Q: Is there an exotic oral health care product you love that you have tried abroad?

A: In the heart of the Ecuadorean on Lake Pilchicoa I lived with some Pilchi Indians for a time. After some particularly large feasts my friends would hand me leaves taken from a plant that looked and smelled like eucalyptus, but it wasn't. We chewed the leaves to a paste, then I was shown how to rub the cud against my gums then spit out. Worked like a charm.

Q: Do you have an experience you can share where an exotic food significantly resisted your ability to cleanse the taste/flavor from your mouth in a normal time frame/fashion?

A: It happens all the time. Unripe Monstera fruit contains tiny particles that grind like little sand diamonds in your mouth. Most Sea Squirts leave their iodine flavor behind for hours. The gases from Durian linger in your stomach and mouth for a day. Stinky Toe Bakut has a resin in it that even two or three scrubbings can't clean...

Q: "If I was not a food enthusiast..."

A: I would be an art history teacher or a city councilman.

(Photo by Steve Henke)

For more by Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S., click here.

For more on dental health, click here.