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why mint = "clean"?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My dental hygenist told me that mint is the most popular flavor of tooth polish in their office, because people "like that clean, minty taste." I tried to figure out why mint is associated with cleanliness, but I'm not sure. Anyone know the origins or logic of it?

 

 

post #2 of 4

Probably because some ad executive linked them, back in the day, and the marketing guys really pushed it. 

 

There's no question mint provides a pleasing freshness, and, in fact, has been used as a breath freshener for centuries. But so, too, have other herbs been used that way.

 

The ironic thing, of course, is that perfumes originated to mask odors that result from less-than-sanitary conditions. For people who didn't understand mouth and tooth care, breath freshening was important. By chewing a few mint, or basil, or rosemary leaves you covered up really bad breath.  People like ourselves, who brush regularly etc. shouldn't have bad breath to begin with. But we still obsess on using perfumes.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I can see how the absence of bad odors would mean "clean" -- but we have an almost instinctive reaction to mint. Maybe the "cool" sensation also is associated with clean, because something freshly washed feels cool due to evaporation?

 

I'm comparing it to ginger, which would probably hide odors just as well, but would probably not be described as 'clean".

 

 

post #4 of 4

How attractive socially do you think "sardine-flavored" toothpaste would be? How secure would you feel on the table of a surgeon that just gargled with "scotch-flavored" mouthwash? Would you want to kiss someone who has just enjoyed a "sweaty-sock-flavored" hard candy? 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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