At Frontier Family Dental, we know that the freshness of a patient’s breath matters. Whether before an important meeting or exciting first date, you want to feel confident in knowing your breath doesn’t smell like a dumpster on a warm summer’s day.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you have breath that smells less than its best, and you may not always feel comfortable asking someone to check. Fortunately, a new scientific breakthrough offers the promise of a future where you always know whether your breath is fresh or past due.
Researchers from the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are currently working on a sensor that can detect hydrogen sulfide, the odorous gas that makes breath stink. Bad breath occasionally happens to everybody. While most of the time a person’s breath will smell due to what they ate or how long it’s been since they last brushed and flossed, chronic bad breath can be a sign of an underlying condition such as gum disease.
Since bad breath is a universal human condition, researchers designed an experiment to detect the odor-causing gas without the use of the sense of smell.
Researchers have successfully developed a small sensor that can accurately detect the current state of a person’s breath.
Science to the Rescue
To develop their sensor, the research team subjected a solution of metal salt, platinum metal nanoparticles, tungsten, and sodium chloride to a manufacturing process known as electrospinning, a technique that produces tiny fibers.
Earlier studies have found that when metal oxides react with sulfur-containing gases, they have measurable electrical changes. Researchers heated their nanofibers, which causes the tungsten to oxidize.
The nanofibers displayed their largest reaction to hydrogen sulfide when their solution contained equal parts of tungsten and platinum. The team tested a couple of other sulfur-containing gases, like methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide, but the fibers remained most reactive to hydrogen sulfide.
Pocket-Sized Prototype in Development
The team has created a prototype that can detect bad breath featuring nanofiber-coated gold electrodes with sensors that detect changes to temperature, pressure, gas, and humidity. The first stage prototype correctly identifies whether exhaled breath smells 86 percent of the time, without the need for any special equipment.
Researchers hope to continue refining their invention until it becomes an easy to use tool for self-diagnosing bad breath. A device a person could keep in their car, pocket, or bag to quickly determine what eating a liverwurst and onion sandwich at lunch did to the state of their breath could go a long way towards preventing awkward encounters or embarrassing moments.
However, until this revolutionary device hits the market, the best method for eliminating bad breath continues to remain brushing and flossing. Practice these habits daily, and schedule regular exams and cleanings with our team at Frontier Family Dental, and you can keep your breath from smelling like a clogged garbage disposal.
If you have any other questions regarding bad breath or what you can do to keep your smile looking and smelling its best, feel free to ask any member of our team at Frontier Family Dental during your next appointment.