Bad breath is something that is hard to know you have unless someone tells you and that can be embarrassing. There are ways to check but require connecting to a power source and calibration and can still take some time to respond. All that might be changing soon thanks to a newly developed sensor.
Scientists from KAIST and MIT developed the inexpensive sensor and it uses a chemical known as lead(II) acetate. The chemical turns brown when it is exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas which is the key ingredient in bad breath. The chemical itself is not sensitive enough to use in the sensor. Scientists have added fine droplets of lead(II) acetate to a 3D nanofiber web composed of polyacrylonitrile polymer.
This arrangement means a greater number of places where the gas can interact with the chemical and the sensor was efficiently able to detect even trace amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas in the exhaled breath. It was able to react to concentrations as low as 400 parts per billion.
This is a very way to check for bad breath as you can see the gas change colour with your naked eye and the whole ordeal takes less than a minute. It is not only important to avoid embarrassing situations but can also indicate underlying health problems.
Scientists are hoping that once the product is finalized and developed commercially, doctors would be able to use the inexpensive sensor to quickly diagnose halitosis without the complicated machinery that is normally needed in such cases.