While many individuals may assume that tooth whitening treatments are merely a cosmetic procedure meant to improve a person's smile, a recent study has shown that carbamide peroxide - a common ingredient in whitening treatments - may be effective at reducing some of the oral bacteria that cause bad breath.
Researchers from Western University for Health and Science found that the compound kills bacteria when left on oral surfaces for an extended period of time. It also stimulates the production of saliva.
This helps reduce halitosis because saliva works to wash bacteria and food particles out of the mouth between brushings.
David Lazarchnik, who led the investigation, said that the findings would be especially beneficial to individuals who tend to have poor oral hygiene, like the elderly and handicapped. Treatment with carbamide peroxide may help them avoid dental problems when they are not able to brush or floss.
"Tray-applied carbamide peroxide may hold great promise for improving the oral health of many special-care patients, including elderly patients and patients with dry mouth," he said.
These individuals may also benefit from specialty breath freshening products to improve their oral hygiene between brushing.