Don’t Let Bad Breath Ruin Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2009

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ODA Promotes Kissing for Good Oral Health - Dr. Larry Levin

Toronto, ON — The Ontario Dental Association encourages you to kiss up a storm this Valentine’s Day. But before you do, make sure bad breath doesn’t spoil the experience.

The most common times when bad breath, or halitosis, occurs are in the morning before brushing, if a long time passes between meals and when taking medication that dries out the mouth. These are all instances of diminished salivary flow. Saliva, which becomes more abundant during kissing, has antibacterial properties that help limit halitosis, tooth decay and gum disease.

“Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can spoil a romantic mood, or even make one reluctant to kiss,” says Dr. Larry Levin, President of the Ontario Dental Association. “But there are simple steps you can take to make sure your breath stays fresh and clean.”

The Ontario Dental Association has the following tips to combat bad breath:

  • Floss and brush your teeth, gums and tongue daily to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Bad breath is mostly caused by the bacteria in our mouths

  • Drink plenty of water or chew on sugar-free gum to keep your mouth moist. Saliva inhibits the growth of bacteria that contribute to bad breath. Some antibiotics and alcohol can also lead to dry mouth, so have extra sugar-free gum or mints on hand

  • Certain foods can contribute to bad breath, such as garlic, onions and protein-rich foods like milk products, fish and meat. Brush your teeth after consuming these foods. Chewing sugar-free gum is a good option if you cannot brush your teeth after every meal

  • Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can cause dry mouth or halitosis (on top of being harmful to your overall health). Speak to your healthcare provider about quitting.

  • If bad breath persists, talk to your dentist. It could be a symptom of gum disease or other medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, infections of the nose or throat). Visit your dentist regularly to attain and maintain good oral health.

“You can try masking bad breath with mouthwash, mints or gum, but the only way to eliminate bad breath is through healthy habits,” says Dr. Levin. “A good oral health regimen will not only make you want to kiss others, but it may make others want to kiss you too.”


For more information:

Bonnie Dean
ODA Public Affairs & Communications
416-922-3900, ext. 3305
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