Want to kiss your loved one with a fresh smelling breath on Valentine’s Day? There are a few things that you can do to ensure a welcoming kiss. First, what are some causes of bad breath? The two obvious factors are oral hygiene and the foods eaten, but there are many other factors that play a role in how our breath smells throughout the day.

For the early morning start on Valentine’s Day, the “Morning breath,” is the feared interaction with one’s loved ones. When we sleep, our saliva flow decreases and is not able to wash away the natural bacterial build-up in our mouth. Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) like hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and methyl mercapatan begin to accumulate throughout the night causing the unpleasant breath in the morning. These compounds are the bacterial by-products of the broken down amino acids, proteins, and other chemicals from our last meal. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism to stop this process from occurring. However, brushing and flossing before bedtime will help reduce the amount of bacterial VSC load throughout the night by minimizing the amount of bacteria present when sleep starts. Also, drinking a large glass of water before bedtime will help compensate for the lack of saliva flow.

Avoiding certain food such as garlic and onion are another way to ensure a fresh breath. These types of foods are infamous for scaring away a nice kiss from a spouse. As food is eaten and absorbed into the bloodstream, it is eventually funneled through the lungs and carried off within your breath. Smoking and tobacco use is a consumed product that will also be absorbed into the lining of the respiratory and digestive tract, causing chronic bad breath. Unfortunately, even brushing and flossing will not dampen the odor because these products are internally stored. Therefore, the odor may not completely dissipate until the food or product is passed from the body.

Good health also plays a role in a fresh smelling breath. Certain illnesses such as sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, respiratory tract infections, and liver and kidney diseases can cause bad breath. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is often associated with taking many medications. Although these illnesses and xerostomia cannot be avoided, knowledge of its contribution to bad breath may lead one to be more defensive in treating bad breath. More frequent tooth brushing and flossing, mouthwashes, and frequently drinking water helps enormously in reducing bad breath.

Therefore, if you want odor-free kissing on Valentine’s Day, brush and floss your teeth the night prior, avoid strong smelling foods, do not smoke or use tobacco products, drink lots of water, and use mouth washes if needed. Most importantly, brush and floss Valentine’s Day morning to give your loved ones a kiss they will lovingly remember.

For any questions or concerns, Dr. Rashmi (Rush) Bhatnagar, DMD, MPH may be contacted at 480-598-5900 or visit www.BellaVistaDentalCare.com.


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