Monday, December 23, 2013

Be Kissable Under The Mistletoe

The mistletoe is hung and so begins that holiday tradition of exchanging a kiss beneath.  For those who want the optimal "mistletoe experience," Wilmette Dental offers a few tips on how to have a delightfully kissable mouth.

*  Brush your teeth!  There isn't anything kissable about teeth that are covered with the sticky bacteria that causes plaque.  Brush gently with a soft toothbrush (don't forget the tongue), and use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste.

*  Floss your teeth after brushing.  While a thorough brushing works wonders in cleaning teeth, it won't completely eliminate the food particles that are trapped between teeth. Only a mix of brushing AND flossing can really clean your mouth.  Trapped food can lead to tooth decay and bad breath (a mistletoe no no).

*  Get regular dental cleanings and check ups.  A professional dental cleaning at least every six months can ensure that teeth are thoroughly clean and look their best.  And, professional cleanings help keep your breath smelling fresh.

*  Minimize the bad habits.  Smoking can wreak havoc on a mouth, causing bad breath, yellowed teeth and a host of serious medical conditions.  Eat too much sugar and you're basically feeding the oral bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Drink large quantities of red wine and coffee, and you'll wind up with badly stained teeth.

*  Moisturize lips.  A good lip balm can heal chapped lips and keep them kiss-ably soft.

And for the curious, mistletoe is actually a type of plant "pest" that feeds off the nutrients of host trees.  While it's not so good for the host, mistletoe does act as a good food source for many animals and birds.

The name "mistletoe" is believed to come from the German "mistle," which means dung (the plant is spread from tree to tree by the seeds in bird droppings), and "tang," for branch.  In pre-Christian Europe, mistletoe was regarded as a symbol of male strength and fertility.  The custom of kissing beneath it can be documented as far back as 16th century England, where it was a popular Christmas tradition.  But stick to kissing -- mistletoe is toxic and ingesting it can make you sick!

Happy Holidays!!!