An over the counter bad breath remedy that has been around for many years is the Proctor and Gamble product, Scope mouthwash. Not only has it stood the test of time, but it has morphed into a product with a whole range of flavors and varying formulations. It is not just a scented product designed to mask the odor of bad breath, but a treatment to kill the bacteria that cause the odor.
The ingredient that kills bacteria is cetylpyridinium chloride, a chemical that has been shown in scientific studies to fight off the kinds of bacteria that live in the mouth and produce volatile sulfur compounds, the bad smelling molecules in halitosis. The activity of this chemical also reduces build-up of plaque and assists in the treatment of gum disease. Scope mouthwash, then, contains a potent tool against bad breath.
On the flip side, apart from cetylpyridinium chloride, Scope mouthwash also contains both alcohol and glycerin, products that tend to have a drying effect on mouth tissues – and when the mouth is dry, there is not enough saliva to assist with the mouth’s natural bacteria-fighting defenses. This contributes to bad breath and periodontal disease, so Scope mouthwash may not be reaching it’s full potential to fight halitosis. Some producers of bad breath remedies avoid both of these ingredients in their formulas, and it is worth noting that the alcohol contributes to several risks associated with this otherwise very safe product: flammability, and the risk of intoxication when the product is ingested.
Scientific study has also found that, even without the reduction in saliva, the antibacterial effect of cetylpyridinium chloride is inhibited by other common ingredients in oral products, which means that the bacteria killed by the chemical in laboratory testing may not be so readily killed once the chemical is mixed with other ingredients to produce Scope mouthwash, and possibly even mixed with other oral care products in the mouth.
If you use Scope mouthwash, don’t use other oral care products at the same time, and be sure to spit the mouthwash out rather than swallowing. Give the cetylpyridinium chloride a chance to work by following the manufacturers instructions carefully. If you don’t get the results you were hoping for, try one of the other over the counter bad breath remedies, many of which contain alternate antibacterial ingredients. Every mouth is different – you may have to shop around to find the remedy that’s right for you.