Bad breath may be used to diagnose illnesses, experts say
SUMMARY: Have halitosis? Technology currently in development may one day be able to diagnose diseases based on little more than a modified version of the breathalyzer test.
Posted: December 30, 2010
Have halitosis? Technology currently in development may one day be able to diagnose diseases based on little more than a modified version of the breathalyzer test.
As reported in a recent issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Sensors Journal, scientists have developed breath-analyzing devices that use "micro-hotplates" to detect the presence of certain compounds.
Developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the technology can detect molecules like acetone at concentrations as low as several parts per billion.
The technology utilizes electrified plates, which are just one hundredth of a millimeter wide, to pick up changes in gas density on the breath. Excess acetone, for instance, may indicate the presence of diabetes.
The study's authors concluded that the modified breath-analysis device may be able to detect cancers as well.
While this technology may be one breathalyzer people will not try to beat, bad breath in general can require treatment to avoid social embarrassment. Brushing twice a day, flossing and using a specialty breath freshening product can alleviate sulfur compounds associated with halitosis.