In a new column, Tech Support, we offer three high-tech solutions to an everyday ailment, each somewhat more sophisticated than the next, and all made possible by the magic of science and any extra cash you might have lying around.
Help! My breath smells like a rotten cheese puked on by a dude dying of rotten egg poisoning. Making out is supes awkward.
You can thank decomposing bacteria for your coma-inducing breath. The warm, wet cave also known as your maw is an ideal breeding ground for rapid microbial growth and decomposition. Think of your tongue as a waste disposal site, brimming with sulphurous gases that are released when bacteria processes amino acids. Yep, it's pretty nasty – so here are three ways to fix it, using the marvels of technology (and not, say, regular gum or an old fashioned tongue cleaner)
Chew a piece of future gum
Specifically, Lotte's "No Time," a bizarre yet useful piece of candy which debuted back in 2001. It's embedded with tiny granules that scrape off plaque from your teeth – a tricky that's been adopted by many other gum manufacturers since, including Wrigley's. You can pick up these sticks — which have "Yes, chewing!" printed on the wrapper — from Jbox.com, an online distributor that ships stuff from (where else?) Japan.
Let this Japanese gadget judge your mouth with emoticons
It's called the Topland Etiquette Checker, and it's a lightweight, compact breath-tester that gauges the smells emitted by your maw a lot more effectively than blowing into your palm or kissing the back of your hand. Blow into it for a few seconds—like a sex cop administering a breathalyzer—and you'll see a number rating on the LCD screen, accompanied by a face that ranges from "blissful" to "dead." The screen is bright green, which the original product description reminds you "looks great in the dark."
A rating of four or more, according to the Japanese ad above, means "you will be hated by women," while anything from one to three means you're safe to get sexy. Bonus: the device also checks how drunk you are…because stale beer smells just as bad as garlic nachos.
If you live in New York, you can pick up this handy thing at AC Gears in Greenwich Village, which began stocking it earlier this month. If not, you can order it online for roughly the same price ($63) here.
Get a new tongue, finally
Okay—so maybe this surgery is usually reserved for cancer patients or accident victims. Still works as a sure-fire way to banish a bad case of halitosis. (Maybe.)
The first successful tongue transplant was performed by doctors in Austria in 2003, who attached a donor's tongue to the severed "nerve stumps" of a 43-year-old man's amputated tongue. Which kinda reminds us of that episode of Bizarre ER (a trashy medical TV shows, about the world's weirdest emergency cases), in which a woman lets doctors put leeches in her mouth to keep her transplanted tongue alive.
Of course, this sort of operation comes with some major obstacles. The mouth is full of bacteria, making it pretty much the least sterile part of your body. Surgeons have to suppress your inbuilt immune system to prevent it from rejecting the new organ – but this only increases the likelihood of a ruinous infection. Plus, you'd have to find a donor with the ideal-sized tongue to fit your mouth. And to really get acquainted with that special tongue, well, you'll probably need to find someone who can ignore that awful smell coming from your own.
Follow Michelle @MichelleLHOOQ.