In most cultures, spring is the ultimate time of renewal, creation, cleansing, growth, and activity. People all over the world use this time to start frantically rearranging their furniture, purging their closets, and finally sweep out the dust bunnies (which have become so large that they may have been given pet names).
Of course, with this restless desire for change also comes a fervor to transform and build better everyday habits. As the season kicked off, many of us found ourselves with more time at home than ever before, and we’re being asked to look inward. We’re reevaluating the habits of our daily lives – physically, mentally, and emotionally. We’re being asked to wake up and smell the roses of the new season!
But to enjoy the smell of the spring blooms … does our mouth need some ”spring cleaning” too?
Get a whiff:
The five elements of taste (salty, sour, bitter, sweet, umami) rely on your olfactory senses to enjoy. In fact, all of the smell receptors in your nose help you to taste better. Which brings us to bad breath.
Bad breath is bad, but in more ways than the stinky one. It turns out, people with bad breath (also known as halitosis) might not even know that their breath smells. Is ignorance bliss? Not so much. Humans can develop a gradual tolerance to their own odor — meaning the ability to smell a scent that is constantly present can get weaker over time. What has been nicknamed “nose-blind”, the same phenomena happens when you get accustomed to the scent of your home. While you may think it smells like nothing when you enter your home, a new guest may immediately ask, “What’s that smell?”. Even if you’re aware that you have bad breath, your olfactory senses are dulled as they have adjusted to your… pungency.
Halitosis is primarily caused by poor oral health. Food debris that gets stuck and plaque that develops can build up and lead to acute and chronic conditions like cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis.
quiptip: We know it sounds obvious, but brushing twice a day, flossing at least once, and using mouthwash can decrease your chance of having bad breath brought on by dental neglect. Making sure food debris stays outside of your mouth will make it easier for you to inhale the beautiful scents of the May flowers.
Take a bite:
With up to 10,000 taste buds spread throughout your tongue, mouth, and throat, having good taste is quite a collective effort. However, the ability to savor the flavor with all those little buds can be directly correlated with good oral upkeep.
When you eat, leftover food debris can not only cause plaque to build up on your teeth — it can get converted into biofilm on your tongue, too. This film feeds bacteria (which also contributes to bad breath), which can dull your sense of taste as your body adapts to the build up. Similar to the nose-blind scenario, you may not be able to taste the summer black truffle-infused ketchup as strongly as a friend with a cleaner mouth who is ranting and raving about the flavor profile. Oral plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal disease, tonsil infections, and other chronic issues throughout the body (considering your tongue is the gateway to all of your internal organs).
If you love the art of food, maintaining a fresh palette (or rather a clean palate) is important. You know the old adage: live to eat, don’t mis-taste food because you forgot to brush your teeth!
quip tip: Rather than just focusing on brushing your teeth, pay extra attention to the tongue and tongue cavities using a tongue scraper (quip has conveniently built in one for you on the back of your brush head!). Whether getting rid of all plaque first thing in the AM or after each time you brush, ridding your mouth of plaque build up will give you more time to taste and less time dealing with dental issues.
Of course, don’t be intimidated by the prospect of your mouth being yet another tedious cleaning chore. Keeping your mouth tidy every day means less worry about future issues at the dentist. Plus, consistency means you’ll be able to wake up and smell the roses (and taste the farmers market treats) with all the reinvigorating energy of spring.