Valentine’s Day is almost here and you know what that means: It’s smoochin’ season. AKA time to make sure your breath is on point so you avoid any embarrassing bad breath blunders! Whether you’re heading out for dinner with your plus one, or staying in for some Netflix and chill, we want to make sure you’re ready to move to first base (or a home run) by giving you a secret weapon to help keep bad breath at bay. There’s nothing as unsexy as halitosis, the technical term for bad breath. So, instead of reaching for a pack of gum, that’s full of aspartame and nasty fillers, we’ve got some all-natural alternatives that you might want to try! Cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds; with antiseptic qualities, they help fight off bad breath causing bacteria! Pop a few of these guys in your mouth and start chewing, or simply boil some water to make a fresh breath tea. Bee propolis is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which helps combat odor-causing oral bacteria and reduces halitosis. Plus, not only does it fight bad breath, it can help ward off gingivitis and other oral health issues. Unlike many of the oral hygiene products that just cover up bad breath, propolis uses its germ fighting qualities to actually clean your mouth, so you can literally be, so fresh so clean. Chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro helps keep bad breath at bay! These green plants contain chlorophyll, which neutralizes odors and help cleanse. They’re aromatic herbs, which contain essential oils that help freshen up our breath, the natural way. Crunch on some raw veggies and fruit! Yep you heard us right, raw foods, like celery, carrots, and apples help to clean your teeth! Apples in particular are great for bad breath because of they contain pectin, which helps control food odors. They also help promote saliva, which cleanses our breath! While fresh breath is key, we’re into using these alternatives because they don’t have any of the negative side effects that chewing gum has, like causing digestive problems. For instance, each time you chew, you swallow air, which can contribute to abdominal pain and bloating, and that’s not cute. As if that wasn’t enough, the mechanism of chewing is actually telling your body that you are eating, which triggers the release of enzymes and acids meant for digesting the food you’re tricking your brain into thinking it’s eating. This can reduce enzyme and acid release from happening when it’s actually needed – at mealtime! It just so happens that artificial sweeteners and sugars are common ingredients in most gums on the market. And, if your brand of choice contains sugar, you’re not doing yourself any favours, because then you’re just asking for more cavities! If you still don’t think going gumless is the route for you, try brands that avoid aspartame and artificial sugars, and instead opt for xylitol or stevia. Xylitol helps clean teeth, while stevia is an all natural plant based sweetener! So there you have it. Plenty of options to get your fresh breath on this Valentine’s Day. Or, before hopping on the subway for a busy commute home, having a close conversation with a friend, or just having some common decency after stuffing your face with some extra garlicky hummus.