A report given at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has suggested that a common tooth whitening compound "cures" bad breath. However, studies have shown that the agent also leaches calcium from the teeth.
Carbamide peroxide, a chemical widely used to whiten teeth, is created industrially by dissolving urea - a compound found in urine - in hydrogen peroxide.
At the meeting of the AGD, dental health experts suggested that carbamide peroxide kills the bacteria that cause bad breath, thus neutralizing oral odor.
Unfortunately, the application of the chemical to teeth comes with some risks. A study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that teeth soaked in 10 percent carbamide peroxide solution experienced the same amount of demineralization - or calcium loss - as teeth soaked in soda.
The loss of dental calcium increases the risk of tooth decay, which is a common cause of halitosis.
A typical round of carbamide peroxide whitening can cost approximately $500.
Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a procedure that may damage teeth, individuals with bad breath may consider using a specialty breath freshener to eliminate the odor molecules that give halitosis its smell.
Though the bacteria that cause bad breath can never be fully eliminated, the odor itself may be neutralized.