A Note about Breath Mints

Nobody likes bad breath and we all want to make sure that we keep our friends!   Many companies have taken advantage of our  bad breath concerns and there are lots of products on the market.  These products are not created equally.

The cause of bad breath may be from consuming something like garlic or coffee which will hang around in your mouth despite a thorough cleaning and flossing. But if you have gingivitis or gum disease, the plaque in the mouth will give off odors, usually caused by sulfide compounds, which is the root cause of bad breath from a disease condition. If you don’t believe me, floss your teeth and smell the floss; it’s disgusting!

Breath mints are essentially a candy used to mask bad breath. They do NOT cure anything or provide any benefit beyond temporarily masking the bad breath.   The mint flavor can come from a natural mint oil like spearmint or peppermint. There are also artificial sources that provide the mint flavoring. Additionally, there is often sugar which is not good for your teeth from a decay perspective. Artificial sweeteners have replaced sugar in many mints and some types can be cause for concern for some people.


A better alternative is to use mints with xylitol. This is a sweetener which in some studies has been shown to inhibit decay.   In an article posted online from the California Dental Association, xylitol is a sugar that the bacteria cannot use to promote decay.

I looked at amazon.com for a xylitol containing mint, and there were many, many choices. The cost may be a little more that the other mints, but if you are prone to decay, this seems like a double winner.


Breath fresheners alone are not the answer.  For the sake of your friends remember that routine cleanings are important for breath AND teeth.