Monday, 1 June 2009

Banish Bad Breath With Parsley?

The claim: Eating parsley can eliminate bad breath.

The facts: People have long tried to freshen their breath with parsley.
              Its fresh, strong flavour would seem to make it a natural deodorizer. And its deep green colour is a sign of ample chlorophyll, which is thought to have some antibacterial properties. (The sulphur compounds that give rise to bad breath are produced by various strains of bacteria that feast on food deposits and other debris in the back of the mouth.)
              However, researchers who have looked into this particular folk remedy have found little evidence that it works. Studies that have examined its effects in the mouth have found that while it may have some small initial effect on odour – mostly by masking it – parsley odes little to reduce the concentration of volatile sulphur compounds.
              One unlikely food that has been shown to reduce levels of sulphur compounds, however, is green tea, although the effect may be temporary, lasting no more than an hour or two.
              Mouthwashes can be effective when they contain two ingredients in particular: zinc and chlorhexidine.
              However, those that contain alcohol may make the problem worse by drying the mouth. Several studies have also identified a number of other factors that contribute to bad breath, including being overweight, drinking heavily and smoking.

The bottom line: There is little evidence that parsley can counteract bad breath.

- The New York Times 

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