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Want a Mint?

Filed Under: Personal Care at 9:12 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Bad Breath ReactionHave you ever noticed that an inordinate amount of people offer you mints or gum mid-conversation? Do their hands innocently rest on their face, covering their mouth and nose in a look of “interest”? Does a strange, pungent odor follow your every word? If you answered yes to any of these, you may have a problem: bad breath.  It haunts us all, some more than others. And unfortunately (for those around us), we are often unaware of the offensive aroma. However, once we are alerted, we take the steps we deem necessary to eradicate it.

Mouthwashes, gums and mints are purchased. Obsessive brushing ensues. Yet even after all of this, we remain unsatisfied. A stinking suspicion remains that we are not removing the bad breath but simply hiding it beneath a layer of artificial mint. And we’re right. Many of the treatments are nothing more than cosmetic masks. Gums have been proven to be only 18 percent effective, mints 3.6 percent. But the future smells better. Researchers have found that adding magnolia bark extract to gums and mints raises effectiveness to 43 and 61 percent, respectively.  An addition to an already addictive chew will render our mouths cleaner and our breaths sweeter. It’s just a matter of time, but what should we do until then?

We can continue disguising, hiding the embarrassment with package after package of gums and mints. We can avoid the more pungent foods – onions, garlic etc. – until an effective oral deodorizer is available. Or, we can engage in proper dental hygiene.  We can brush our teeth daily, adding an extra scrub, post-meals. We can floss once a day and take a brush to our tongues afterwards. We can replace our toothbrushes every three to four months, and, scary as the thought may be, we can see our dentist every six. If that does not take care of the bad breath, we or rather you have an underlying problem. It may be a medical condition, a result of severe dieting, a consequence of tobacco and alcohol use, or an undying desire for clove upon clove of garlic. Proper detection of the cause can alleviate the problem.

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