Suffer from bad breath? This thumb-sized device sniffs it out


A tiny device has been developed to help detect if somebody has bad breath. 

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is often a good indication that something needs changing in your oral health routine. 

However most of the time people are completely unaware that they have bad breath. Asking somebody else, a friend or family member, can be embarrassing. 

Now a team of researchers have developed a thumb-sized device to help overcome this problem. 

Quick detection

Beforehand, the only tests available were devices that measure small amounts of hydrogen sulfide (which is what makes breath smell bad). However they require the collection of exhaled air, which is then analysed in a laboratory – both a lengthy and expensive method. 

But the new device, using the necessary combination of substances, helps to respond quickly to hydrogen sulfide when air is blown directly onto it.

They found that it was especially sensitive to hydrogen sulfide when compared to other gases. For example it created a response between 9.5 and 2.7 times greater than its reaction with dimethyl sulfide or methyl mercaptan, respectively.


Once this was discovered, the team compressed the test into a small prototype device around the same size of a human thumb. 

It correctly identified halitosis 86% of the time. 

As a result, the researchers hope it could be made available as a quick and easy product to help people self-diagnosis their bad breath. 

What are some home remedies for bad breath?

So you have found out you have got bad breath. What do you do next?

Often, only a few simple steps are needed to make a difference:

  • Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes 
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use floss or inter-dental brushes
  • Use chewing gum or sugar-free mints after eating strong-smelling foods
  • Try an antibacterial mouthwash.

However visit the dentist if the bad breath does not improve after a few weeks.

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