Bad breath is a common but potentially embarrassing dental health condition - and many people turn to over-the-counter mouthwashes as a way to combat the odor. But do they work?
A new review from the Cochrane Library suggests that mouthrinses do effectively reduce the levels of odor-producing bacteria.
"We found that antibacterial mouthrinses, as well as those containing chemicals that neutralize odors, are actually very good at controlling bad breath," explained lead researcher Zbys Federowicz of the Ministry of Health in Bahrain.
Antibacterial mouthwashes are aimed at killing the bacteria that accumulate on a person's tongue and that give rise to foul-smelling sulphur compounds.
To arrive at their conclusions, the scientists reviewed the results of studies involving nearly 300 subjects.
They identified certain chemicals - such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridium - as being particularly effective at reducing odors. However, chlorhexidine was found to temporarily stain the tongue and teeth.
One of the most common causes of bad breath is poor dental care. The American Dental Association recommends that people brush twice per day and floss daily to maintain all aspects of their dental health.
© 2008 Brafton Inc.
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