When Bad Breath Happens to Good People

Is something rotten in the state of your mouth? Kill halitosis with costly new technologies!

The "stabilized chlorine dioxide" that the company touts as the product's main ingredient is actually a salt, sodium chloride, Richter points out. Oxyfresh's Scheele, concedes that point, but asserts that when that chemical reacts with the acidic chemicals in the mouth, it actually becomes activated chlorine dioxide A and goes to work fighting bad breath. (The reason Oxyfresh contends it has developed a "stabilized" form of chlorine dioxide is that the claim permits the company to offer dental products with long shelf lives; Richter's ProFresh, a yellowish solution composed of chlorine dioxide gas dissolved in water, loses its effectiveness within about two months of its being manufactured. Oxyfresh doesn't have any scientific studies to support its claims about the magic transformation of its "stabilized" chemical into chlorine dioxide in the mouth.

While the two companies duke it out over effectiveness, neither is willing to market its product formally as an antibacterial solution, because that would require spending tens of millions of dollars and years of research to prove their case to the FDA. "Who would want to go through that?" Scheele says.

So both ProFresh and Oxyfresh market their respective products as mere "deodorizers," while informally hyping the mouth rinses with scientific studies that make broader claims.

As the squabbling continues between the bad breath warriors trolling for the good-breath-challenged here in Miami and across the country, the ADA's consumer advisor has a caveat. "Before you invest hundreds of dollars in any of these centers or regimens, try cleaning your mouth yourself," says Dr. Richard Price. "Go to Walgreen's and buy a tongue scraper, and try any of the mouthwash products on the shelf.

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