If you’re worried about oral health problems, you may need a Mint. Not the chewable kind, but a new gadget from Breathometer that senses your breath and tells you if you are at risk for any oral diseases.
Breathometer’s Mint is a small plastic device that you breathe into. It syncs via Bluetooth with your smartphone and then analyzes what kind of germs you have in your mouth.
Mint is powered by scientific breath analysis technology that allows it to sense the presence of harmful bacteria. The nice thing is its immediacy. You don’t have to go to the dentist, run a test, and wait days for the results. You get to know right away. I used it, and so did one of my kids. I’m happy to report that we both got “A” ratings on a scale of A to F. My smartphone displayed the results, along with an explanation.
Recent studies show that oral health issues can indicate larger issues throughout one’s body. In fact, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found in May 2016 that people with poor oral hygiene may be at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those with good oral hygiene.
Mint believes oral health is the window into general health.
San Francisco-based Breathometer was founded by Charles Michael Yim in September 2012. It was the first company to land an investment from all five hosts of ABC’s Shark Tank when it made its debut in 2013.
The Mint device and smartphone companion app measure volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are produced by anaerobic bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are correlated with poor oral hygiene and oral health issues, such as gum disease and bad breath. Breathometer believes this product launch to be critically important, as studies show that a major portion of the United States’ population suffers from gum disease.
“The launch of Mint reinforces our ongoing goal to deliver best-in-class digital health products that help everyday consumers monitor their health,” said Yim, who serves as the company’s CEO, in a statement. “Research has shown that people with poor oral hygiene may be at a greater risk of developing serious diseases than those with good oral hygiene. The launch of Mint is a milestone achievement in that we’re offering a simple and connected experience that provides individuals with a smarter way to monitor their oral hygiene.”
The pocket-sized Mint device pairs with a user’s smartphone and uses a proprietary sensor array to provide an accurate reading of VSCs. Mint samples air from a user’s mouth and generates an “oral report card” within seconds.
The Mint app, which is available for iOS and Android, also shows the user’s cleaning effectiveness by displaying the difference in VSCs when measured before and after cleaning. Supported with machine learning technology, Mint provides personalized tips and tracks progress with supported programs that cater to various types of oral health monitoring. You can, for instance, engage in a prep program to make sure you’ve got good hygiene before you go to the dentist.
Mint sells for $100.