Various compounds such as zinc, chlorine dioxide, sodium chlorite and metal salts have been used in mouthwash to guard against bad breath - also known as halitosis or oral malodor - but these compounds were previously considered unworkable in gum.
Compounds previously unworkable in gum
Wrigley said in its patent application that the compounds “impart strong, unpleasant flavors and aromas thereby negatively impacting taste and deterring use.”
It added that mouthwashes with these compounds occasionally caused ulcers and inflammation in the mouth.
“Moreover, oral compositions incorporating these compounds (other than mouthwashes and rinses) which are retained in the mouth for longer periods of time, such as chewing gums, mints, and lozenges, further enhance irritations to the oral cavity when these compounds are employed,” it said.
Wrigley has combined zinc salt and isothiocyanate in a gum composition that guards against volatile sulfur compounds, which are responsible for bad breath. The company claims the formulation gives a pleasing taste that would be acceptable to consumers.
Wrigley conducted a Expert Sensory Analysis test with six internal panelists. Each panelist chewed a control gum, or the new invention for six minutes.
“No significant difference observed for off-flavor (including astringency) and bitterness between the experimental gum and the control gum. No significant difference in sweetness intensity was observed as well,” said the firm.
“These results provide evidence that Applicants invention offers a unique, inexpensive, consumer friendly and readily available means for reducing oral malodor associated with volatile sulfur compounds,” it continued.
The patent was filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty that allows a uniform patent to be considered by signatory national or regional authorities. Signatories will now decide whether or not to grant the patent.