Role of carvone in breath fresheners

Role of carvone in breath fresheners

Carvone is a natural compound found in various essential oils. It usually occurs with two main isomers: spearmint and caraway. Recently, a PubChem article stated that carvone can be used as a laxative, especially in colic treatment, and as a breath freshener. Alternatively, it can also help digestion in young children.

Carvone primarily has two enantiomers: (L)-carvone and (R)-carvone. Both of these have well-recognized flavors and aromas. But (R)-carvone has the flavor and aroma of mint since it is the dominant compound in spearmint oil. You will find (R)-carvone in chewing gum, mouth fresheners, and mint candies as a flavoring agent. It also provides aromas in personal-care products, air fresheners, and aromatherapy oils.

Why is carvone used in mouth fresheners?

Simply because it's rich in essential oils. Carvone is the major compound of the essential oil of many species of the Lamiaceae family including Mentha, Mentha spicata, Mentha cardiaca L., and more. Most of these are used as flavors in different domains of the food industry.

Have you heard of Wrigley's Spearmint Gum and Spearmint flavored Lifesavers? These two brands are major users of natural spearmint oil from Mentha spicata. Life Savers is actually an American brand of ring-shaped hard and soft candy. They offer a range of mints and fruit-flavored candies which can also act as mouth fresheners.

Carvone can be used in mouth fresheners in three predominant ways:

Odor masking

The aromatic properties of carvone help mask unpleasant odors associated with bad breath. Hence, it imparts a minty fragrance and works to neutralize or cover up malodorous compounds. That’s how bad breath vanishes.

Antibacterial properties

Some research suggests that compounds found in essential oils, including carvone, may possess antibacterial properties. So when you incorporate carvone in mouth fresheners, it could potentially contribute to reducing the bacterial load in the oral cavity.

Stimulate saliva production

Chewing gum or consuming breath fresheners often stimulates saliva production. Carvone in its minty form may contribute to this effect. Increased saliva helps in washing away food particles, bacteria, and other debris which promotes better oral hygiene and a fresher breath.

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