Ah, walnuts. Fodder for the Christmas nutcracker, crunch factor for your favorite brownie recipe and a must-have for every Waldorf Salad. We all love walnuts, but did you know that they can provide a natural way to help you combat bad breath?

Well, we aren’t 100% sure yet if ALL walnuts provide the same benefit, but certainly the African walnut has been proven to be a strong aide in the fight against halitosis.

Walnuts: A Natural Breath Freshener

Three years ago, during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, two teenagers from the Doregos Private Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, presented their experimental findings about the use of African walnuts to beat halitosis. This prestigious event, now sponsored by Intel, was created in 1950 by the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) to bring together high school students from around the globe to exhibit their scientific discoveries.

During a school trip to a village in Nigeria, the students were offered a snack of African walnuts (these nuts are not like the ones we are used to, but have more of a hazelnut flavor). “When I woke up in the morning,” she recalls, “I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet but my breath was already fresh. Then I remembered I had eaten walnuts last night.” She had more the next night, and woke up once again with fresh breath. Not being students who believed in sheer coincidences, the kids set up an experiment to test their theory.

So they chopped up the walnuts and mixed half with resin and sugar to make gum and the other half with lime and water to make mouthwash. They divided their volunteer testers into four groups – one ate whole walnuts, another chewed walnut gum, the third used the mouthwash and the fourth group became the “control” group, using nothing at all so the test results could be measured.

Since no one wanted to just run around smelling the volunteers’ breath, the young scientist had their volunteers blow bubbles in to a solution that would turn black with the presence of hydrogen sulfide. Only the control group blew bubbles that turned the water black, indicating that there was bacteria in their mouths – none of the walnut chewers or swishers turned the water black. The researchers also swabbed the mouths of each of the volunteers, and the walnut consumers had lower bacteria counts on the swabs.

Pretty cool work for a couple of kids who just went on a field trip…and kept their eyes and minds open!

Since the African walnut has different properties than the walnuts we add to our brownie mixes, the jury is out on whether or not the kids’ findings will cross continents, but who knows? They may just be onto to something that will help breath stay fresh….naturally. And speaking of fresh breath, be sure to continue your daily oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue daily with your TUNG Brush and Gel.