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You can’t be blasting your fellow man with dragon breath. So, when Patrick complained of the chalkiness of his Dentyne Pure Mint gum ($1.49 for 9 pieces at Ralphs), I knew a replacement was needed.

He’s a mint man, so I snatched up all the varieties I could lay my hands on. There’s no shortage of gum in the world.

The Trident White Peppermint gum ($1.49 for 12 pieces at Ralphs) claimed to prevent 35 percent of tooth stains. “Once you get through the hard candy shell, there’s a tingling burst of flavor,” noticed Pat. “But sometimes you want to slip a piece of gum into your mouth quietly, and between the foil packaging and the crunchy coating on the gum, it’s hard to be subtle.”

The Trident Minty Sweet Twist ($1.49 for 18 sticks at Ralphs) and the Trident Spearmint ($1.49 for 18 sticks at Ralphs) reminded Patrick of the dentist. “Something medicinal about the smell,” he said.

The thick sticks of Trident Layers “with real mint flavor” ($1.69 for 14 pieces at Ralphs) came in a neat, dual-fold box. “Cool Mint plus Melon Fresco,” read Joan.

“I hate melon flavor,” said Pat. “It’s like cherry-flavored candy — it all tastes the same, but it’s nothing like cherries. It’s the same with melon flavor.”

Orbit sells many mint varieties: Sweet Mint, Wintermint, Spearmint, Peppermint, and Peppermint Spray ($1.49 for 14 pieces at Ralphs — except Peppermint Spray, $1.69). The Spearmint was flavorless, the Sweet Mint artificially sweet, and the hard-gum pieces of the Peppermint Spray turned into a sandy chew. The Orbit Wintermint was a favorite, with a strong mint flavor that cleared the sinuses — the flavor brought Pat right back to his childhood love of Wintergreen Life Savers. Orbit Peppermint was another keeper. “I like the minty pow right up front when you start to chew,” said Pat.

My testers Pat and Joan rinsed their mouths with baking soda and saltwater. “I might never chew gum again,” stated Pat.

We popped open the package of Dentyne Pure Mint with Melon Accents ($1 for 9 pieces at Ralphs). It confirmed Pat’s hatred of melon favor.

The package of Eclipse Spearmint ($1.49 for 12 pieces at Ralphs) looked promising. “I like the flavor, but the gum ends up being too small,” observed Pat. “You’d need to throw in a couple of extra pieces for a good chew.”

The 1930s cartoon man jumping for joy on the packages of Glee Peppermint and Spearmint gums amused us ($.99 for 18 pieces at Whole Foods), but the flavor did not. “I wanted to like this. It’s ‘all natural’ and made with rainforest chicle,” said Pat. “But I’d rather drink this baking-soda water.”

The purple-gray color of the Wrigley’s React gum ($1.69 for 15 pieces at Ralphs) and its slick packaging was appealing, but the Pepsodent toothpaste smell was disconcerting.

Wrigley’s Doublemint ($1.49 for 15 sticks at Ralphs) had my tasters singing the “Double your pleasure” commercials of our youth, but the sweetness overwhelmed the mint in it. We felt the same about its cousin, Wrigley’s Spearmint ($1.49 for 15 sticks at Ralphs).

Everyone dug the metallic green wrapper of Wrigley’s Rain Spearmint ($1.69 for 15 sticks at Ralphs). Unfortunately, it and the Wrigley’s Freedent Spearmint ($1.49 for 15 sticks at Ralphs) both failed in the flavor department.

Spry Peppermint Dental Defense System (10 pieces for $.99 at Henry’s) and its spearmint counterpart — both sweetened with “100% all-natural Xylitol” — left a medicinal taste and a wet mouth. And they were too small.

The Stride Spearmint and Stride Sweet Peppermint ($1.49 for 14 pieces at Ralphs) suffered from forgettable taste.

The Peppermint XyliChew Sugar Free ($1.99 for 12 pieces at Whole Foods) carried a clean, mildly minty taste. It was set in the keeper pile.

Our last chews, the Extra Spearmint and Extra Peppermint ($1.49 for 15 sticks at Ralphs), became the gold standard of mint gums for Pat. “Everything is right about this: the flat sticks, the balanced mint-to-sweet flavor, the lasting chew.”

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