While certain gum brands may claim to eliminate halitosis-causing bacteria, these claims must be understood in the light of exactly how much bacteria they ultimately do away with. To that end, a recent study analyzed the effectiveness of a cinnamon-based agent in killing oral microbes.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, the research centered on cinnamic aldehyde, a compound found in plenty of sweetened chewing gums. It's found there for a simple reason. Cinnamic aldehyde is what gives cinnamon its flavor. The chemical has been synthesizeable, independent of the spice, for over 100 years.
The study analyzed cinnamic aldehyde's antimicrobial properties by measure oral flora counts before and after chewing sweetened cinnamon gum. It's authors concluded that while oral microbes decreased, the amount by which they dropped was not statistically significant.
This inquiry directly contradicts previous research funded by the William Wrigley, Jr. Company, which found that cinnamic aldehyde kills up to 50 percent of oral bacteria.
In either case, those microorganisms that are not killed are by definition the fittest strains, and it does not take them long to multiply.
Rather than relying on common chewing gum to do the trick, individuals with bad breath may consider using specialty breath freshening gums that oxygenate and moisten the mouth, killing bacteria and neutralizing odors all at once.