Plumes of Bad Breath, Oral Compounds Help Rescuers Find Trapped Humans

Do you care about your bad breath enough to consider using TheraBreath’s specialty mouth freshening products? If so, you may be interested in some of the wild directions that breath research has gone in lately.

For instance, a study appearing in the latest issue
of the aptly titled Journal of Breath Research focused on what happens to breath and body odor when a person is trapped in a collapsed building. Ominously titled “The Trapped Human Experiment,” the investigation was in fact a cautious, probing look into the nature of bad breath under extreme circumstances.

This is not the first study to examine the effects of being trapped in debris on halitosis levels. In 2003, a paper appearing in the journal Physiological Measurement tracked the rate of change of the aromatic compounds – like ammonia, acetone and isoprene – given off by a person “trapped in a void” – that is, living in a lab.

However, the new study went a step further. Researchers from Germany, Romania and Greece monitored what happens to bad breath and body odor molecules over time, especially as these gases filter up through fallen building debris.

As you might imagine, the investigation took place in a controlled setting with numerous safety checks. The team found that, even after filtering through simulated rubble, halitosis compounds like carbon dioxide, ammonia and acetone stayed more or less intact.

You may be wondering what finding trapped people has to do with halitosis. Well, the authors noted that search-and-rescue dogs often use such scents to find natural disaster victims. However, since these animals quickly tire, bad breath- and body odor-detecting devices can be calibrated to pick of the aroma trail of a person buried in rubble.

Does this mean you should stop using your specialty breath fresheners? Hardly. The team noted that even the freshest breath quickly soured in their simulator. So, rather than fretting about an exceedingly unlikely natural disaster, leave that to scientists and stick to worrying about your oral hygiene.

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