Tips for Having the Most Kissable Mouth This Valentine’s Day and Beyond

February is affectionately (or not depending on your current relationship status) known as the month of love. It is also heart health month (go figure). So we wanted to provide some tips you could benefit from because who doesn’t love a good kiss? And whether you’re kissing your child, your partner, or your parent, these tips will help you feel more confident before leaning in.

Tip 1: Check your tongue. Did you know that the appearance of your tongue is indicative of your health? Your tongue should be pink without any irregular lines or patches of a different color or texture and should have no deep grooves. If your tongue looks off, schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out what’s amiss.

Tip 2: Don’t invest in a tongue scraper. According to Dr. Andy at Living Dental Health, only a small percentage of people need to use a tongue scraper. He likens the tongue to a shag carpet and says that you should be okay as long as you brush your tongue after brushing your teeth. If your tongue still looks unhealthy (see tip 1), consider getting a tongue scraper or asking your dental hygienist for recommendations.

Tip 3: Check your breath. Dragon breath can be very offensive to someone who wants to kiss you. So how’s your breath. Dr. Andy says that similar to body odor, people with halitosis (that’s the fancy term for bad breath) don’t realize they have it, but everyone else does. Halitosis often happens due to calculus and bacteria buildup. This gunk doesn’t come off no matter how often you brush or floss your teeth – kind of like barnacles on a ship. If you suspect you may be having an issue with stinky breath, schedule a cleaning with your dental hygienist and dentist and ask them. A good dentist will give you the truth in the most gentle way possible. Your dentist will work to identify the underlying cause of your bad breath and provide a treatment to help remedy it.

Tip 4: Stop trying to cover up your breath. If you’re like most humans, the taste of minty fresh breath is like a warm hug – just super nice. But according to Dr. Andy, if you’re healthy – meaning more than just your oral health – you shouldn’t need to use mints or mouthwash to improve your breath. Yes, if you just ate a loaf of garlic bread, you will be able to protect your family from the risk of vampires, but a healthy person shouldn’t need to cover up the smell of their breath.

Tip 5: Brush your teeth properly. Dr. Andy’s very favorite toothbrush is Sonicare. He loves it because it holds all the very best patents and does what it claims to do. Regular brushing can keep your teeth healthy and reduce your risk of periodontal disease, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Tip 6: Skip the mouthwash. Going back to the love many of us have of fresh breath, Dr. Andy says that most of the mouthwashes you can buy over the counter are bad for you. Many are so chemically strong they kill both the good and the harmful bacteria in your mouth. They can also cause chemical burns in your mouth, resulting in gum tissue pulling away from the teeth. If you want to use mouthwash, he suggests Crest ProHealth and Act. Another product he loves is CariFree, which can be purchased through his office. It is a prescription-strength product that addresses the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This can improve bad breath, periodontal disease, and cavities by improving the pH in your mouth. It isn’t for everyone, though, so if you’re interested, reach out to your dentist to see what they think.

Tip 7: Watch out for an abscessed tooth. Dr. Andy has seen more patients recently with abscessed teeth, so he wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. He recommends watching out for pressure sensation, dull pain, a bad taste in your mouth, ringing in the ear, and sensitivity to biting. If an abscessed tooth is ignored, it can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, and can even elevate your A1C levels for those with diabetes and heart rate – for those with heart disease.

A healthy mouth is a sign of a healthy body. Taking care of your teeth and mouth will not only keep you alive longer but will also give you more confidence when you lean in for that smooch. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with those you love.