Cupid's Pulse Article: 5 Ways to Avoid Bad Breath While On a DateCupid's Pulse Article: 5 Ways to Avoid Bad Breath While On a Date

By Dr. Joseph Banker

You’re on a date and everything seems perfect until you get a little closer…and realize that maybe it’s a little too close. Bad breath can ruin an otherwise perfect date- we can safely assume that there would be no Brangelina if Brad had bad breath on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith! However, avoiding bad breath starts long before the date even occurs. Here are my five top tips to avoid bad breath while on a date:

1. Avoid smelly foods for at least a day: Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can cause offensive breath that lingers long after they are consumed. If you have a big date planned, drink plenty of water and avoid these foods for at least 24 hours prior.

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2. Improve your oral hygiene routine: Poor oral hygiene is the biggest culprit of bad breath. Regular dental visits are very effective in preventing bad breath and developing techniques to maintain optimal oral hygiene. Food that remains between teeth must be removed by flossing. Tongue scrapers are also effective in removing odor-producing bacteria that builds up on the tongue.

3. If you have chronic bad breath, squeeze in a trip to the dentist: The underlying cause of most chronic cases of bad breath is odor-producing bacteria, which are present in chronic infections that are often associated with advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Those with active periodontal disease tend to have a higher incidence of bad breath. Although many factors contribute to periodontal disease, there is also a genetic predisposition. There are so many techniques we can use today, such as lasers and targeted delivery of antibiotics that are extremely effective to eradicate these bacteria and get to the underlying cause of the problem.

4. Say no to coffee and alcohol: Coffee and alcohol are both responsible for causing a decrease in salivary flow. Saliva is needed to cleanse debris from the mouth and to flush away odor producing bacteria. Coffee also contains some compounds that may cause offensive breath regardless of its effect on the salivary flow. It may be a better idea to skip that cup of coffee at the end of the meal and opt for a glass of water.

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5. Carry sugar free breath fresheners: A sugar free mint or gum can freshen breath, which is always better smelling than the last course of food you ate. It could make the difference between a handshake and a kiss goodnight!

Dr. Banker is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, The Crown Council, and has studied at the UMDNJ Dental School in New Jersey. He has been named a top New Jersey dentist five years in a row and has contributed his expertise to ShapeNewsweek, and Good Housekeeping. Please contact me if you would like to receive more information or set up an interview with Dr. Banker.