What is Bad Breath Gum?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Bad breath gum is chewing gum used to make a person’s breath smell cleaner and fresher. Some bad breath gum works by covering foul-smelling breath with minty or cinnamon-like fragrances. This type of gum also works to stimulate the production of saliva, which serves as a natural breath freshener. There is some gum, however, that contains ingredients researchers have identified as uniquely capable of getting rid of bad breath, including essential oils that inhibit bacterial growth.

Peppermint is often added to chewing gum to help freshen breath.
Peppermint is often added to chewing gum to help freshen breath.

When a person chews bad breath gum, she typically releases scents of mint or cinnamon from the gum, covering or masking the bad smells. The fresh scents don’t really make the offensive smells go away, however. They merely cover them temporarily, meaning bad breath returns when they wear off. In fact, they may not even cover the odors completely. If a person eats something with a strong smell, such as garlic, chewing minty gum may only make her breath smell like mint and garlic at the same time.

Cavities contribute to the development of bad breath.
Cavities contribute to the development of bad breath.

Chewing is the action that may save a bad breath gum from being a masking agent alone. When a person chews gum, he stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps to put an end to bad breath in two ways. First, it flushes bad-breath-causing bacteria out of a person’s mouth as well as any leftover food particles that contribute to mouth odor. Second, there are enzymes naturally present in a person’s saliva that are capable of killing odor-causing bacteria.

Gums with a minty flavor are sometimes called "bad breath" gums because they can cover up bad breath.
Gums with a minty flavor are sometimes called "bad breath" gums because they can cover up bad breath.

The fact that chewing gum keeps the mouth moist is one of the main reasons it works so well against bad breath. Dry mouths are more likely to have offensive odors. This is why people who have a medical condition called dry mouth are more likely to have bad breath than others. It is also the reason some medications can cause bad breath.

Gum can help moisten a dry mouth, which can freshen bad breath.
Gum can help moisten a dry mouth, which can freshen bad breath.

There is some bad breath gum that has ingredients particularly good for fighting bad breath. For example, some gum is made with plant essential oils that stop or slow bacterial growth. This may help to prevent not only bad breath, but also cavities.

While any gum, whether or not it is labeled for fighting bad breath, may work to increase saliva production and prevent bad breath, sugar-free varieties may be the best choice. This is because gum that contains sugar also contributes to the development of cavities. Cavities, in turn, contribute to the development of bad breath.

Chewing gum stimulates saliva which can help combat bad breath.
Chewing gum stimulates saliva which can help combat bad breath.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

Krunchyman

The article makes a very good point, regarding bad breath and cavities, as they're both something most of us have experienced in our lifetime. Generally speaking, bad breath isn't always due to the foods that we've just eaten. As the article mentions as well, it can be the result of cavities or other issues of the mouth.

For example, two years ago, I had a wisdom tooth in the far right side of my mouth, and it was growing sideways. The problem with this was that it was creating a pocket for food, and every time I ate, food would get stuck in a "pocket" and become trapped underneath my gums.

Not only did this lead to a terrible taste in my mouth, but even more so, it was causing me to have chronic bad breath. In this case, because it was an ongoing problem, bad breath gum wouldn't have helped much, and it didn't.

While the article does do a good job at explaining the benefits of chewing gum, remember that based on what issue you're having, whether it's something as simple as bad breath, or something more severe, gum might not be the cure.

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