Your Best Friend Won't Tell You If You Have Halitosis? Breathe Easy, Dr. Etiquette Will
Eight years ago, Watanabe, who heads a health-care products company, teamed up with Masatake Tsunoda, a teacher at Tokyo Dental College and a researcher on the chemical components of bad breath. Dr. Etiquette, the result of their partnership, will retail for about $125 when it reaches the U.S. sometime this fall and is breathtakingly easy to use. Simply exhale for three seconds into the gadget's aperture and wait for the readout: The words "good" or "pass" appear alongside a green light, "warn" rates a yellow and "bad" gets a red.
Dr. Etiquette isn't fail-safe, and since it operates by measuring odor intensity, it may give a "bad" reading to someone who has just munched a mint. Presumably it won't give a green light to someone who has just downed a meal of salami, raw onions and garlic bread.
"There are two types of people who will use my product," predicts Watanabe. "About 40 percent are very nervous people who may not have bad breath but worry about it. The other 60 percent have bad breath and don't worry about it but should." And will, no doubt, as soon as someone introduces them to Watanabe's newest companion on the morning commute.