Cinnamon mints are a kind of breath mint or candy with a red-hot flavor. The cinnamon herb has long been revered for its medicinal benefits, including inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Because of these anti-bacterial properties, cinnamon -- much like spearmint and peppermint -- is often used to fight halitosis and sweeten the breath. Chewing or sucking on a breath mint increases saliva in the mouth, which washes away oral bacteria. As with all breath mints, however, cinnamon mints only provide temporary freshening of the breath. They are not a cure for chronic halitosis.
American Chicle introduced Certs, the first breath mints, in the 1950s. Consumers desired a breath-freshening product which would be more portable than toothpaste or mouthwash, and that was not merely candy. Chewing gum was not always a practical solution, as it had to be spit out or discarded. Gum also stuck to dental work, presenting the need for an alternative. American Chicle's solution was Retsyn®, a breath-freshening solution of cottonseed oil and copper gluconate. Certs were marketed in a variety of flavors, including cinnamon.
Today, most commercially-manufactured cinnamon mints contain either sugar or artificial sweeteners. These ingredients are added because pure cinnamon oil or bark generally proves too strong or bitter for the taste buds. While these sugars make the mint more pleasing to the palate, they may actually be making a bad breath problem worse. The reason is that bacteria in the mouth thrives on sugar. Added artificial sweeteners found in most "sugar free" cinnamon mints can disrupt the body's natural chemistry, thus causing more harm than good.
Health experts generally agree that the only cinnamon mints which provide healthful benefits are those which contain pure cinnamon oil with no added sugars or sweeteners. These can only be found in health food stores. Many halitosis sufferers get relief from simply chewing on a piece of raw cinnamon bark. Cinnamon sticks are also recommended as a natural alternative to breath mints. Nibbling on a cinnamon stick cleanses the palate after a meal and satisfies the craving for something sweet. Because the spice has a sweet taste, many dieters find it useful for replacing sugary snacks and desserts as part of a weight loss program.
A word of caution about ingesting this powerful herb, however, should be noted. Should the user experience burning, skin rash, sore throat, swelling, or red bumps inside the mouth after coming in contact with raw cinnamon, gum or mints, this may be a sign of an allergic reaction. Cinnamon allergies are quite common and are usually no cause for alarm. The symptoms are uncomfortable but should subside within a few hours. In extreme cases, a person with cinnamon allergies might be entirely unable to breathe. If unpleasant side effects do occur, use of any cinnamon product should be discontinued immediately.