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Mouthwash As Smoking Deterrent? UB Dental Researchers To Test New Product For Safety, Efficacy

By Lois Baker

Release Date: May 9, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Smokers who want to quit but really enjoy the taste of a cigarette may soon have a new weapon at their disposal. And if it works, it would be as easy to use as mouthwash.

In fact, it is mouthwash.

Faculty from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine soon will begin a pilot study of a mouth rinse that claims to make smoking taste terrible.

Sebastian Ciancio, D.D.S., professor and chair of the Department of Peridontology who has conducted hundreds of product trials and will head this one, said he has seen the product's formula and it looks promising on several fronts.

"It could discourage people from smoking," Ciancio said, "but is also seems to have the potential to decrease plaque and gingivitis. It also may reduce tartar."

Ciancio will begin a small pilot study involving 20 smokers within the next two months to test the product's safety. If it proves to be safe, he will conduct a larger study to determine its effectiveness as a smoking deterrent and as a preventive for plaque and gum disease.

The new mouth rinse is a product of the same creative mind that developed the first Xerox copy paper, Ciancio said. The product's data sheet describes it as a breath-freshening, germ-killing liquid that works like any normal mouthwash with one notable exception: For 5-8 hours after using it, "the taste of cigarette smoke is distorted to the point where the person will not smoke past the first puff."

The mouth rinse doesn't affect the taste of anything but tobacco smoke, the inventor asserts, which makes it a useful long-term deterrent should former smokers be tempted to relapse. The inventor also notes that his product doesn't involve nicotine or any other drug.

"This is especially important for persons who are pregnant or who have undergone heart bypass surgery and can't use any of the currently approved smoking deterrents to help them quit," the inventor notes.

In the never-ending search for better dental products, companies also have contracted with UB's Department of Periodontology to test a new kind of dental floss, which initially will involve a small pilot study, and to conduct larger studies of two new toothpaste formulations.

Persons interested in volunteering for the smoking-deterrent mouth-rinse study or any of the others may call the UB dental school at 829-3850. Please note that participation is limited to Western New York residents.