It is well established that savory or pungent foods can cause halitosis. Garlic, onions, meat, fish and other savory or fatty foods can put a smelly funk on the breath, not to mention leave behind a film of particles that feeds oral bacteria. New research may have found a food product that can relieve some bad breath - preservatives.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation determined that sodium nitrate may reduce gastric odor. Sodium nitrate is a common food preservative used to keep meat and other substances from spoiling.
Called "Haldane, hot dogs, halitosis, and hypoxic vasodilation," the alliteratively titled research examined the connection between sodium nitrate in saliva and the production of nitrite, a volatile compound that may be used to clinically treat ulcers and gastric disturbances.
By dosing lab animals with sodium nitrate, the study's authors found that the compound results in a thickening of oral and gastric mucus, which they theorized might be a defense mechanism.
Researchers concluded that the preservative may mildly reduce bad breath.
However, savory meat can still leave the mouth badly in need of hygienic attention. To neutralize oral odor quickly and effectively, people with halitosis may consider brushing regularly and using specialty breath freshening rinses or tablets.