Champagne, chocolates and breath mints, everything you think you'd need for a romantic date.
But what you've really got is a recipe for bad breath.
According to a recent Harlequin survey, 49% of men and 62% of women say that bad breath is the number one turn off. To ensure your Valentine's Day is sealed with a kiss, bad breath expert, Dr. Harold Katz offers a few simple tips, the first being to stay away from many over the counter bad breath products.
"Some of the most popular breath mints out there have two types of sugar in them and the sugar is feeding the bacteria, making them more powerful," says Dr, Katz who is the founder of the California Breath Clinics and TheraBreath System.
"The concept is people think they have a minty taste in their mouth but taste and smell are two different senses."
Many tooth paste formulas contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a chemical term for soap which helps the toothpaste foam up, but doesn't really fight halitosis. Many mouth washes also contain alcohol, which acts as a drying agent and drains saliva.
"The number one tip is to drink more water and that's important because it help replenish saliva, saliva is nature's gift to us," says Dr. Katz who often travels to Canada and around the world testing people's breaths at local stores and pharmacies.
"It has an interesting component in that it has oxygen in it and oxygen is the natural enemy of these anaerobic bacteria, so when you have a lot of saliva the oxygen keeps the bad breath bacteria in check."
Halitosis is not only a turn off, but can also be a sign of more serious diseases, such as kidney, liver and lung disease.
"The reason why bad breath can be a side effcet of many of these diseases, once you're ill you are more or less out of balance and these self producing bacterias take over," he said.
To check your breath is at its freshest, inspect your tongue, it should be pink and almost shiny looking. Another tip is the wrist lick test, lick the back of your hand and after its dried take a sniff, if you've got bad breath the bacteria will stick and the smell will speak for itself.
Tips to be at your kissable best
- Drink plenty of water, 6 to 8 cups is the standard
- Eat breakfast, this helps kick off the saliva which combats bad breath
- Avoid sugar-filled bad breath products, this just fuels bacteria.
- Avoid alcohol-based mouth wash
- Instead of milk chocolate eat dark chocolate as it has less sugar and dairy.
- When consuming alcohol have glasses of water in between
- Drink tea instead of coffee
Tell a Friend Program
For several years now Dr. Harold Katz hasn't just been a bad breath guru, but also an objective friend. People from all around the world have sent requests to Dr. Katz and his team to help them tell a friend, boss or even lover they've got halitosis.
The Tell A Friend program on Dr. Katz's website, therabreathcanada.com allows the concerned friend to send their request.
Dr. Katz will send the friend a kindly worded letter, protecting the friend's identity explaining they don't have the freshet breath and offers some tips.