Despite the focus on chocolates on Valentine’s Day, sugar in most forms can cause bad breath.
“Sugar, found in many so-called breath mints energize bad breath bacteria to produce copious amounts of offensive volatile sulfur compounds,” says Dr. Harold Katz, bacteriologist and developer of TheraBreath Oral Rinses, Toothpastes, and Lozenges (www.therabreath.com).
Strong cheeses, garlic, onions and hot peppers can also lead to bad breath, according to Dr. Katz. If you went on a diet to be lean on Valentine’s Day, that may also be a problem, as some diets high in protein can cause bad breath because bad breath bacteria break down proteins and extract smelly sulfur elements as a by-product.
“You can do things with natural foods to improve your breath,” Dr. Katz says.
“Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are some of the best, long-lasting breath fresheners, because they keep your mouth moist. And, obviously drinking six to eight glasses of water daily helps to replenish saliva, our natural oral moisturizer.”
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may also be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease.
“And if gum disease continues untreated,” Dr. Katz says, “it can damage the gums and the supporting bone.”