Growing smiles asks “How kissable are you?”

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

Pity your smile doesn’t match the rest of you!  🙁 Ouch!

Is love in the air?

A clean and healthy smile can attract the love of your life and is key to a healthy heart. When judging a potential date, both men and women rate teeth at the top. Nice teeth score higher than hair and clothes. So this Valentine’s Day take time to spruce up that smile and make it worth kissing!

Leaning in for that “first kiss” may be a real challenge if either party has bad breath and poor dental health. And bad breath doesn’t just affect the love struck! When faced with a ‘wiffy pong’ kissing anyone from an elderly relative, your favourite toddler or the love of your life can become a ‘grin and bear it moment’! The reaction can be disastrous… and have a major impact on relationships… it’s the thing your best friend really needs to tell you… yet often they don’t! You don’t need to be aiming for a kiss, anyone with face to face contact needs to brush up on their smile.

Clean and healthy teeth are the basis of preventing bad breath (halitosis or oral malodour). If you are concerned, it is important to identify and do something about the cause. Spending money on gum, mints, rinses and breath fresheners will only temporarily mask the problem.

Bad breath – oral malodour (halitosis) is very common and affects around 30% of the population. In around 90% of cases the cause of oral malodour comes from the mouth. The most common culprits are food and bacterial plaque on the teeth and tongue. Oral malodour is often related to gum disease but can occur when bacteria break down to form volatile sulphur compounds. The scientific evidence points towards the importance of these bacteria coating the tongue. Good oral hygiene is key to preventing a “wiffy” moment!

Poor fitting dentures and/or cavities causing food and bacteria to be trapped can increase oral malodour. Dentures should be left out at night when sleeping – ask your Growing Smiles coach or dental professional for more information. Any dental appliance in the mouth that is not kept clean can increase oral malodour e.g. orthodontic braces.

Poor saliva flow and a dry mouth (xerostomia) will increase oral malodour, think morning mouth when you wake up and your mouth is dry! Many medications affect saliva flow so ensure adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water. Chewing sugar free gum, (with xylitol which has been shown to prevent cavities), can help stimulate saliva flow.

Other causes of halitosis include gastric and respiratory problems, e.g. sinus infection. Alcohol and tobacco use contribute to oral malodour as well as some foods. Garlic is well known for its strong after- smell, also onions and strong spices – these are only temporary… so best avoid if planning a romantic Valentine’s evening!

How to present a pout worth aiming for?

Brushing every surface of each tooth at night and one other time in the day will remove approximately 60-70% of the bacterial plaque from your teeth. Use a small headed toothbrush and a pea sized blob of fluoride toothpaste. Concentrate on the area where the tooth and gum meet. Spit the toothpaste out but don’t rinse afterwards. The other 30-40% of bacterial plaque can be removed by daily cleaning in between the teeth. Use floss or another interdental aid suitable for your mouth – your dental professional or Growing Smiles coach can help you select the best product for you. (Just think about all the food and bacteria stagnating between your teeth!)

Clean the surface and sides of your tongue with a brush or scraper from the back forwards. A tongue scraper is more effective at removing bacteria from the tongue than a brush. Go as far back as you can without gagging.

Don’t smoke and use alcohol sensibly.

Chew sugar free gum with xylitol to stimulate saliva flow and help prevent cavities.

Visit your dental practice regularly to check you don’t have gum disease. Your dental team and Growing Smiles coach can advise you how best to look after your mouth.

Assessing if you have oral malodour is difficult. If you are concerned why not contact Growing Smiles and we will help you develop a personalised preventive programme to improve your oral health and fresh breath. The key to avoiding a “wiffy moment” and winning your Valentines heart? Clean and healthy teeth and gums!

This Valentine’s day make sure you are kissable!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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