A certain tree bark might provide the salvation your mouth has been looking for…
Bad breath haunts about 80 million Americans, (at least according to the Bad Breath Institute, which should know, right?) The scientific name for this terrible stench is halitosis. It’s caused by bacteria that builds up in your mouth and on your tongue, or things like stomach ulcers, obesity, and eating too much garlic.
While some experts claim drinking milk will put dragony garlic breath to rest, other sources of smellies are more difficult to target.
Tongue scrapers are a common remedy that many people turn to. They’ve been around for hundreds of years and for some, they provide a tried, tested and true solution to keeping a clean mouth. But research published in the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical journal argues they might not be so great.
A recent study examined the effects of using a tongue scraper to brush your tongue, rather than a toothbrush. It’s true that it CAN work for some things.
“A common reason for bad breath is post-nasal drip, which coats the back area of the tongue with bacteria-rich mucous,” said AGD spokesperson, June Lee, DDS, MAGD. “A tongue scraper is often effective in relieving oral malodor caused by sinus drainage.”
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Using a tongue scraper was also found to be effective at lowering volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) levels, something that’s produces bad breath. But scientists warn the benefits of a tongue scraper are short-lived. The device won’t do anything to eliminate persistent, ever-present bad breath.
So, what DOES work?
If you can get your hands on the bark of a magnolia tree, this could do the trick. The American Chemical Society says magnolia extract kills most oral bacteria within 30 minutes, due to its strong antibacterial properties.
And a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that regular old chewing gum reduces bad breath effectively. That study was funded by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, so take it with a grain of salt.
For more on smelly body parts, click here.