Feb 27, 2015

Freshen Up! Beloved Breath Care Products in Japan

Freshen Up!  Beloved Breath Care Products in Japan photo

It seems that an earlier post by one of our readers here at City Cost entitled Breath care product in Japan, is generating particular interest.  So, in the spirit of civic duty, this writer became a chain-smoking coffee guzzler with a penchant for garlic, in order that we might try and test some of the breath care products found in Japan.

But where to start?  Japan is full to the brim with pots, packets, and pill-popping breath care dispensers, easily accessible in convenience stores, drug stores/pharmacies, and supermarkets.  To narrow down our search we consulted default online shopping behemoth, Amazon, to find out what our hosts are doing to keep their breath in check.  Here we get our chops around the three highest rated breath care products as reviewed by Japanese Amazon users (at the time of writing).

Freshen Up!  Beloved Breath Care Products in Japan photo

Number 1 - スピードブレスケア (Speed Breath Care)

Price: 235 yen

Quantity: 30 liquid capsules

Packaging/Case:  Streamline and inconspicuous.  Tricky to get one capsule at a time.

Initial Impact:  For a split second I was about to ask for my money back, but when the capsule dissolved and dispensed its liquid, the mint impact was pretty strong.

Taste:  Apparently apple, although at the time of consumption it was hard to tell.  

Longevity:  Taste/freshness remained for about 30 minutes.  Beyond that, things just felt, well, neutral.

This product made pretty fast work of a rather strong spag bol, post lunch smoke and black coffee.  It somehow left me a little unsatisfied, though.  The capsules are tiny and disappear within seconds (perhaps a good thing for many), but I like something that keeps its form for longer, as it feels like I’m getting my money’s worth.

Number 2 - 急リフレッシュ ブレスケア (Sudden Refresh Breath Care)

Price: 698 yen

Quantity: 100 liquid capsules

Packaging/Case: N/A - It turns out this is just a ‘refill’ package (regular case of 50 capsules/500 yen)

Initial Impact:  The tough capsule felt a little plasticky, like something you shouldn’t be eating.  I got impatient and bit into the capsule, releasing the stronger mint flavor.  It didn’t have the impact of the other products, rather, it took time to build.

Taste:  Pleasant to begin, but I found the mint liquid a little bitter.

Longevity: I could feel the initial freshness for an hour or so.

Sudden Refresh Breath Care, actually didn’t feel so sudden to me, and it didn’t do a great deal to get rid of any lingering food/booze/coffee tastes in my mouth. However, I could feel it working it’s magic in deeper areas.

Number 3 - 噛むブレスケア (Chew Breath Care)

Price: 375 yen

Quantity: 25 pieces

Packaging/Case:  A little bulky and noisy, and has the overall look of containing kid’s candy. Rather conspicuous if you’re trying to impress in a social situation.

Initial Impact:  Transitioned quickly, from nothing at all, through strong, to very strong.

Taste:  Clearly Lemon (as advertised).

Longevity:  The lemon bitterness was (thankfully) gone within 20 minutes, but a tingling freshness lingered well up to the one hour mark.

I didn’t know what to do with this one.  Should I suck or chew?  In the end I did

a little of both.  It really got to work on the back of the throat and into the chest, but the lemon flavor didn’t combine well with whatever else was going on inside the gob.

All of the above products will be easier to find at drugstores.

Please not, the judging criteria were selected by this writer.

The Best of The Rest

No analysis of Japan’s breath care products would be complete without at least trying to scratch the surface of some of the nation’s massive stockpile of mint tablets.  We hit-up Amazon and Yahoo Japan 人気ランキングs (ninki/popularity ranking) to find out which the nation loves best and tried out some of those products that were common between the two.  In no particular order …

Freshen Up!  Beloved Breath Care Products in Japan photo

1 Mintia

Sleek packets, some 15 flavors, 50 tablets for 103 yen, and an ever-present on the nation’s shelves, Mintia must be doing something right.

Of the myriad flavors, the three standard bearers seem to be Wild and Cool (ワイルド& クール), Cold Smash (コールドスマシュ) (pictured), and Dry Hard (ドライハード). Personally, I felt Wild and Cool to be a little on the light side for the heavy work, and Dry Hard’s impact was too punishing to be pleasurable.  Cold Smash gets the balance just right.

Mintia’s fruit flavors must be more concerned with novelty rather than tackling bad breath.  I needed at least two tablets at any one time for things to get effective.

2 Frisk

Another popular option in Japan, offering eight flavors in their standard range. Small, inconspicuous cases pack in 50 tablets (250 yen) which are dispensed fairly easily from a drawer.  I went with the Black Mint flavor (it had a no nonsense, tough look about it). While not nearly as strong as it appeared, the smooth tablet did a solid job.  It took a while to get going though, and would definitely need an extra tablet to finish off more stubborn odors.


Another popular choice in Japan is XYLITOL (pronounced kishilitol/キシリトール over here). This is actually a gum rather than a tablet, and as with all gum, it starts off great but then much quicker than you’d like you’re left feeling as if chewing rubber.  I’m always surprised to find that anyone other than pro-baseball players and stressed out football managers still chew gum.  But I guess they must be. Certainly clears your breath up, but then you’re left with trying to get rid of your unwanted gum at some point.  The casing recommends chewing 2 tablets for 5 minutes, up to 7 times a day.  A jam jar sized tub costs 668 yen. Definitely not a portable option.


The Breo Super comes in a rather snazzy cylindrical case that makes it look like a piece of office stationery.  At 256 yen for 14 tablets there is better value to be had.  Still, the tablets are much bigger than anything else reviewed here and only one of them was needed to do a pretty sterling job at freshening things up.  They were the least finicky to retrieve from the case.   

For Something Different

5 ブレスケアフィルム Breath Care Film

Coming in at 198 yen, I liked this エクストラミント(extra mint) breath care film very much. The tiny case (that looks like it should have an SD card inside) contains 24 fine sheets of mint explosion that you just place on your tongue and leave to do their thing.  The film dissolved quickly and the taste was initially strong. However, it soon faded.  Some questions about the longevity but it did a great job in the short term.

6 Ora 2 Breath Fine (Mouth Spray/マウススプレー)

Never tried a mouth spray before.  It’s always something I’ve associated with 1980s Wall Street types or comic scenes from movies.  The Ora 2 costs 198 yen and comes in a classy, pocket sized case.  The packaging talks of use for when brushing one’s teeth is not an option.  That said, one would surely not want to use a mouth spray in open view of others. Accordingly, I found a quiet corner to give it a blast.  

Strong and bitter were the first adjectives that sprang to mind.  Longevity was impressive but I’m not sure how it would handle burps or hiccups!

Disclaimer - We’re not endorsing any of the above products, merely responding to interest in what’s available in Japan.  As was mentioned earlier, at the time of research, most of these products were proving to be popular with the nation’s online shoppers.  If you have your own suggestions, be sure to comment below.



Traveler, surfer, and scribe. Based in Tokyo for six years.