Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I don't know many tango dancers who don't carry along a pack or two of Tic-Tacs in their suit pocket or their bag. If my BF manages to forget to bring along one of the hundreds of packs of those Listerine breath strips I always bring back from the US, he usually stops by the kiosko around the corner from El Beso to pick up a bit o' minty freshness.

The thing is, how do you kill off your early dinner of ajo con pasta with 2 tiny "1 and 1/2 calorie breath mints?"? Or how does someone with poor to non-existent dental hygiene cover up that odor of rotten eggs emanating from his mouth? This is no exaggeration, by the way. I had the unfortunate chance of dancing with someone who danced divinely, but who smelled like last year's Grand Slam breakfast deal at Denny's. This is a case of some hard-core, non-TicTac interventions. Skanky-breath-ed milongueros, please take note.

Check out this blog article I stumbled across from today about how to handle bad breath.

Wishing you many lovely tandas with partners with fresh breath. TG

Monday, 13 August 2007 (
Women Tips on How to Prevent Chronic Halitosis By Learning What Causes Your Bad Breath

I once took a class in Argentine Tango, which was set up so that men and women constantly exchanged partners while learning the stylized steps. That was okay, but there was one guy who had zero rhythm, and three minutes of trying to tango with him (counting to himself and still failing his steps miserably) was like a stumbling, cursing lifetime. But dancing with that poor klutz (I'm no Pavlova, by the way) was nothing compared to the man whose breath was so bad, I had to fight to hold my own breath or simply go mad. In the few steps where we turned away from each other, I had to gasp for a fresh breath of air, then turn for the next hellish step into the miasma. I felt bad for the man at first: clearly, taking a tango class wasn't going to make him popular with women as long as he could not get rid of his bad breath. But soon, I started to hate him: how could he not know the effect his breath had on others? Why wouldn't he chew a mint, for crying out loud?

It was so bad that I actually considered telling him, a total stranger, that he should chew gum so I could bear to dance with him. I didn't have to go that far, though, because in the end, I met a lovely, sexy, middle-aged psychologist who was not only a fine and graceful dancer, but who smelled nice and liked to dance with me. He managed to show up in front of me more and more often in the partner exchanges, and soon, I hardly danced with anyone else.

Preventing bad breath from occurring or at least affecting others

I brush my teeth about five times a day, and chew gum too. I good swish of mouthwash can be quite refreshing after a garlic filled dinner as well. But there have been times when forays into Vietnamese cooking or beer-and-pizza-with-the-guys has left my mouth less than fresh, which is why I carry gum in my purse for emergencies. This is a quick, temporary solution to curing lunchtime bad breath. While some people swear by breath mints, I've found that they don't do much for eliminating your breath once they're gone.

Natural Solution to Stop Bad Breath

If you don't want to get into any serious breath medications, there simpler more natural products available. For super-halitosis emergencies, you can use Breath Assure, which is nothing more than capsules of parsley oil. You don't chew them (I tried it once and was rewarded with a strong, sweet, oily taste that made me look like my friends' cat the day we tried to give him Benadryl to reduce the swelling from a spider bite. The vet didn't specify the type, just the dosage, and the liquid baby-dose Benadryl made him foam at the mouth for two hours. It was extremely unnerving.) The parsley oil works wonders, eliminating garlic breath and sweetening the breath for hours. Maybe that's why Greek, Turkish and Arabic cuisines combine parsley with lemon and garlic for relishes, salads and sauces.

If you are on a date and in a pinch with absolutely no breath prevention methods on hand, try eating the parley sprig most restaurants place of their plates as decoration. It's free, easily available, and it works! Just be discreet so your date doesn't catch on to your halitosis worries.
Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath that comes from food is easily finished off by brushing your teeth, scraping your tongue, flossing, gum chewing or the aforementioned Breath Assure, but chronic bad breath can be a symptom of other problems health problems such as tooth decay, sinus infection, gum disease, or stomach problems. Eating disorders can also create halitosis from the stomach acids churned up by hunger or by vomiting. If you (or the guy in your tango class) experience chronic bad breath, the first thing to do is get to your dentist for a checkup. After ruling out possible dental care issues, your dentist may recommend a visit to the doctor to rule out other illnesses.

Home Treatment Remedy for Halitosis

Old mouthwashes contained alcohol and mint flavorings. New mouthwashes include zinc and chlorine dioxide. Zinc stops the process that creates the sulfur compounds in the mouth, which are largely responsible for causing bad breath. Chlorine dioxide kills the sulfur that's already present. You may decide to add mouthwash to your regular hygiene program whether or not you have other health issues that need to be resolved in order to stop chronic halitosis for good.


Tina said...

I danced with a guy whose breath smelled like truffle once. Not the chocolate. I mean the fungus from Italy that has an earthy pungent smell and tastes great on pasta.
So I asked him, honestly and innocently, if he'd been eating truffle that night. He said, "no.... why?" I was honest and told him that he smelled like it.
Now, if he HAD indeed eaten truffle, I wouldn't have minded the smell. But because he had NOT eaten truffle, I was really grossed out because I could not figure out what caused him to smell like it. Only truffle should smell like truffle.

Tango Goddess said...

I love truffles. I went to a wine/food pairing extravaganza that featured a huge truffle the size of a brain. It was awesome. But, yeah, smelling fungus breath on someone who hadn't eaten any kind of edible fungus is kind of scary.

Anonymous said...

I'm a card-carrying member of H.A., Halitosis-sufferers' Anonymous. I never knew I had bad breath until I reached middle age and was informed of the fact by a concerned friend.

Here is the secret that I had never heard anyone talk about before. The biggest culprit in the bad breath department is your tongue. You have to scrape it. You can get a plastic scraper just for this purpose at the drug store. You can even use the edge of a spoon, but be careful because it's easy to tear the tissue of your tongue.

You asked how someone can be unaware of their own bad breath? I can answer that based on my own experience. I have practiced what I believed to be excellent oral hygiene my entire life. I brush and floss conscientiously. It just didn't occur to me that I was missing something. I never heard anybody mention scraping your tongue.

The story is this. Even a little coating on your tongue provides a comfortable home for certain bacteria. If you drink a glass of milk or eat a grilled cheese sandwich, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Even if you brush your teeth, that coating is still there. The nastiest part of the story is that the metabolisms of those little critters is anaerobic. That means that they depend on living in an environment free of oxygen. The waste material of such organisms contains sulfur compounds, the same stuff that's in rotten eggs. If you don't scrape your tongue, then you're breathing the equivalent of rotten eggs into everyone's faces.


Once I started the new tongue hygiene regimine, everything got better. I also carry mints when I dance, but that one new hygiene step was the real secret in turning the tide of war in my fight against my own bad breath.

Tango Goddess said...

Thanks so much for the explanation and the tip, Anon. I started lightly brushing my tongue when I brush my teeth, and I gotta say that my mouth feels fresher. I'm sure my breath is fresher, too, for which many of my tango partners are thankful, I'm sure!

Krystyn said...

Good for people to know.