What is necessary in a mouthrinse, toothpaste or specialty breath freshener for getting rid of halitosis? A recent study found that while a common antibacterial and antifungal substance reduced oral odor when combined with a detergent, the latter wasn't necessary for sweetening breath.
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology noted that triclosan, an agent that can eliminate fungal and bacterial populations, dramatically reduced the scent of bad breath when combined with alcohol or sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).
However, both of these additives need not be included in an effective mouthwash, the team wrote. Experiments conducted by the authors "support the contention that triclosan exhibits an anti-[volatile sulfur compound] effect per se," meaning that SLS is not a requirement in a breath freshener.
On the contrary, the team noted that they could not conduct a test on the halitosis-fighting properties of SLS alone because the substance "may cause damage to oral tissues" in solutions stronger than those found in common toothpastes.
What is SLS? A surfactant, or foaming agent, as well as a detergent in stronger doses. Rather than putting what amounts to soap in your mouth and risking getting canker sores, consider using a specialty tongue scraper or SLS-free mouth rinse.