Microbiologists in California have reported discovering a novel way to eliminate some bad breath caused by bacteria. Using a compound that targets oral bacteria, individuals with halitosis may be able to reduce oral odor and even fight cavities.
The team's results appeared in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
The treatment, called specifically targeted antimicrobial peptides (STAMP), uses a specially crafted molecule that attracts the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, a microorganism known to cause cavities.
STAMP consists of a polarized molecule, the research team said. One side of the compound resembles a homing pheromone, an organic chemical that binds to a specific organisms protein receptor. The other side acts as an anti-microbial, killing bacteria on contact.
The therapy's creators said that removing the mouth's population of S. mutans could potentially reduce the risk of cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
However, not all halitosis-causing microbes can be permanently eliminated from the mouth. To ensure fresh breath no matter what one's level of oral flora, individuals with bad breath may consider brushing the teeth twice a day and rinsing with a specialty breath freshening product.