It’s the end of the night, and the date’s gone well. You knew your miniature golf skills would pay off one day, and they finally did – big time – when you got that hole-in-one and won the prize your date had been eyeing.
Now, while you’re saying goodnight, that confidence washes away. Instead, you’re filled with panic as you remember that garlic dip you put on your pizza. It just looked so good at the time! As you lean in for that first kiss, the state of your breath should be the last thing on your mind. Don’t worry, though – everyone worries about how kissable they are at the end of the night. Take the following steps to make your date smile, not grimace, when you get close. Brush Frequent brushing is our first step because it’s the most obvious. When we were kids we heard “brush your teeth” grouped with other commands like “wash your hands,” “clean your room,” and “take out the garbage.” Now that we're older, we understand why brushing is so important. Brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before you go to bed. If you’re feeling ambitious, brushing your teeth after every meal will help fight plaque and bacteria throughout the day. Be sure to wait 30 minutes before brushing if you had tea or coffee during the meal, however. Acids present in these common drinks will soften your enamel, and brushing too quickly afterward can remove its protective layers. We might say “brush your teeth,” but don’t forget the rest of your mouth. Your tongue, interior cheeks, and palate (the “roof” of your mouth) need to be cleaned too. Even if you brush regularly, you will also need to change your toothbrush for the best effect. If you notice the bristles are misshapen or loose, it’s time for a new brush. Use a Fluoride Toothpaste Most of Canada’s public water supply goes under a process called fluoridation. This means that our drinking water has a small amount of fluoride added, which helps reduce tooth decay. Fluoride prevents tooth decay in a couple of ways. First, it kills bacteria and stops acid production that weakens tooth enamel. Then, it works its magic by repairing previous acid damage. Fluoride toothpaste will further reduce bacteria and plaque build-up in your mouth. Many toothpaste brands include fluoride in their products, but be careful to read the label to make sure. If you use toothpaste without it, you aren’t getting the most out of your daily ritual. Floss If you took an unofficial poll of any group’s flossing habits, the most likely response would be a sheepish “I should floss more.” It’s a crucial, often skipped step that will make your mouth more kissable than ever. When you’re first starting out flossing, don’t worry if you bleed a bit. Your gums aren’t used to the process, and you’re removing build-up between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Keep it up, but if the bleeding continues after a week of flossing every day, consult with your dentist. Drink Water Have you ever had morning breath? If you haven’t, congratulations on being superhuman. For the rest of us out there, we might need to avoid human contact when we first wake up. Morning breath occurs because our mouths produce less saliva while we sleep, and our breath becomes stinky when it doesn’t have moisture. Unfortunately, dry mouth doesn’t just happen while we sleep. Any of us can be susceptible to dry mouth throughout the day, especially when we’re nervous or stressed. Unfortunately, anticipating a first kiss could cause stress, so dry mouth might pop up and ruin the mood. Drinking water will help rinse your mouth and stimulate saliva production, which, in turn, will improve your breath. Caffeinated, sugary, or alcoholic drinks can intensify dry mouth, so consider sticking with water during dinner. Chew Sugar-Free Gum Chewing sugar-free gum also helps eliminate dry mouth because it increases saliva levels. Additionally, it removes particles between your teeth and freshens your breath. Make sure the gum is sugar-free, because sugar is bacteria’s favourite food. You want to kill this bacteria, not feed it a buffet, so avoid sugar before and during your night on the town. Get Regular Check-Ups You can do considerable work at home to improve your oral health, but everyone needs a little professional help as well. Some people are scared to go to the dentist because they believe dental procedures might be painful. If this is the case, try scheduling an appointment just to talk with your dentist. Most are happy to make accommodations for their patients, and sometimes just talking to your dentist can alleviate your fears. In addition to your at-home steps, regular dental check-ups will help you maintain a healthy and kissable mouth, so your next kiss will always be a happy memory.