Modern society provides us with all sorts of breath-freshening products: toothpaste, mints, mouthwash, gum, and even weird, translucent strips that dissolve in your mouth. All these products have one thing in common: their default flavor is mint.
By now, this seems quite natural. So it's hard to appreciate how interesting it is that spearmint and peppermint, a pair of shrubs native to Europe and Asia, have come to symbolize freshness for all of society. What's more, the idea that mint equals freshness is more of an illusion than anything else. It's a triumph of advertising.