Friday, November 07, 2008

A fresh breath of air

Political change is riding the wind. Sure, we have the heightened culmination of the last year this past Tuesday, and since then it's been a blur of activity, what with choosing the new cabinet and making first president-elect speeches, reminding us of the lame duck president and current administration.

Lame duck is not an insult, by the way. it's a term used to describe a current president leaving office but before the new one is sworn in. I felt I had to take a minute to clarify that after what I've seen out of people's "understanding" of politics lately.

Anyway, the air. It's a changing folks. Some people think it's starting to smell like sulphur and others think it's infused with ozone and rose petals. I'd like to take a look at this breath of fresh air at a more grass roots level.

For starters, there are breath mints and chewing gum. Gum's scope includes choices for denture wearers and kids that like candy flavors and of course the minted varieties. Altoids are a long-time favorite. Mint flavored dental floss is another good one, especially after a lunch or dinner date. And speaking of "scope", there's mouthwash, too.

But it's not just the quick fixes that really freshen up a breath of air. It's the everyday habits in the master bath, like water pics and toothbrushes that run off of batteries. More important -- if you ask toothpaste manufacturers at least -- is choosing a toothpaste with tartar control and long-lasting results. There are various ways to whiten teeth at home, and even if white teeth don't really freshen the air by themselves, they give a solid appearance of it.

Some people will argue that it's not just how you clean your teeth, but what you put in your mouth, that affects the breaths of air. Onions are a long-standing scapegoat of bad breath, but some other foods accused of fouling up the air are pickles, beans (though mostly for their end results), and various alcohols.

Getting a good fresh breath of air shouldn't be a national issue. It should begin with the individual, and it should be taught at home to the next generation. Regardless of party lines, everyone should be focusing on what they can do right now, right where they are, to change the air around them. Beginning at the local level will begin the changes that ripple all the way up. Then everyone can breathe a little easier.

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