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Pucker Up! Don’t Make This Mistake Under the Mistletoe

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

What’s The Mistletoe Tradition All About?

Did you ever wonder how the custom of kissing under mistletoe came to be? This tradition has roots that stem way back, and today’s tradition was shaped over time from several historical beliefs and practices surrounding the little herb.

Several ancient cultures touted the healing properties of mistletoe for various ailments, lending to its popularity. In the first century, it became a romantic symbol of vivacity and fertility amongst Celtic Druids, because it could blossom even during the cold of winter (1).

During Medieval times, mistletoe was thought to possess mystical powers that would bring good luck and ward off evil spirits during the month of December. It became a popular December decoration due to the beliefs about its power (2).

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Mistletoe was also considered and declared a symbol of love and friendship in Norse mythology, which led to the tradition of “stealing a kiss” under the mistletoe.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is said to have caught on in England. Before Christmas trees were popular, a common decoration was a “Kissing Bunch”, or “Kissing Bough”. These were wooden hoops, composed of holly, ivy, rosemary, bay, fir, or other evergreen plants, and shaped into a ball. Apples, candles or ribbons were often used to decorate these boughs. The finishing touch on these bunches was a large mistletoe hung from the bottom (3).

The original custom stated that before you kissed someone, you had to pick a berry from the sprig of mistletoe. Once all the berries were gone, no more kissing was allowed (2)!

Don’t Be Caught With Bad Breath Under The Mistletoe

No matter where the tradition stemmed from, it’s engrained in our culture today. And with the holiday season upon us, you just might find yourself standing under a sprig of mistletoe at your next social gathering! We have tips to help you avoid being caught off guard with bad breath so that you’ll be ready for your next smooch under the mistletoe!

kissable breath dental tips

10 Ways To Stay “Kiss-ably” Fresh

The easiest way to stay fresh and “kiss-ready” is to adopt great oral hygiene habits and keep your oral cavity healthy. This prevention-minded attitude will help you maintain the freshness of your mouth and avoid problems that can creep up and lead to smelly breath. Check out this list of tips to keep your breath fresh (4)!

1. Brush Daily

You should always brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. This removes plaque, debris and harmful bacteria before it can accumulate and cause damage.

2. Floss Daily

Flossing reaches the third of the tooth’s surface that can’t be reached by brushing alone. If food and debris isn’t removed from between teeth, bacteria will grow and odors will develop.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Brushing or scraping your tongue will keep the folds and taste buds on the surface of the tongue clean and free of residue.

4. Mouthwash

Rinsing with mouthwash can help decrease the amount of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. A mouth rinse can also temporarily mask the odor of an underlying dental issue. Keep in mind that we can help determine the cause of the odor and offer treatment if needed.

5. Visit Us

Regular visits to your dentist are crucial in maintaining proper oral health. These exams also give us a chance to detect any oral hygiene issues that could cause or lead to bad breath early on.

6. Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco products contribute to bad breath, dry out your mouth, and leave unpleasant smells that linger – even after you’ve brushed your teeth. We recommend quitting your use of tobacco.

7. Stay Hydrated

Dry mouth conditions can lead to bad breath. Staying hydrated with plenty of water will not only keep your mouth from becoming too dry; it will also help wash away food particles and bacteria that would otherwise lead to bad odors.

8. Chew Sugarless Gum

Wondering what to do if you are stuck somewhere and unable to brush before a social event? Sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production and wash away food debris.

9. Munch On Fiber

Fibrous foods such as carrots, celery, apples and nuts are great low-sugar snacks to help keep teeth clean and increase your saliva production, minimizing bad breath.

10. Quick Rinse

Swishing with a quick rinse of water is another option if you are unable to brush after eating or drinking a particularly sugary meal or beverage. Swishing water is not a replacement for brushing, but can help knock down sugar buildup that would otherwise help feed odor-causing bacteria in the mouth until you are home and able to brush your teeth properly.

Regular Dentist Appointments Are Important, Too!

Keeping consistent with your professional cleanings and dental exams ensures we can catch issues early and do our part to keep your teeth, gums, and tongue healthy and ensure your breath stays fresh – all year round! Give us a call to schedule at (513) 251-5500.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-do-we-kiss-under-the-mistletoe
  2. https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mistletoe.shtml
  3. https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/hollyandivy.shtml#kissingbough
  4. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html