Studies have suggested that when chlorine dioxide is contained in a mouthrinse, it neutralizes volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air. The efficacy of a chlorine dioxide-containing mouthrinse in the reduction of oral malodor was evaluated in a randomized, controlled, double-blind, parallel group study of 31 men and women. Subjects with a maximum odor pleasantness score of < or = -1 (slightly unpleasant/stale) on a 7-point ordinal scale at both screening and baseline were randomized to treatment with the chlorine dioxide-containing rinse (n = 16) or distilled water (negative control) (n = 15). Oral malodor was evaluated at baseline (prerinse) and at 2, 4, 8, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours postrinse by both a trained, previously calibrated panel of organoleptic judges and a factory-calibrated portable sulfide monitor. The sulfide monitor measured concentrations of volatile sulfur compounds in the subjects' mouth air 3 minutes after completion of the organoleptic assessment at each time point. The correlation between the organoleptic assessments and log-transformed sulfide monitor values was evaluated. With the chlorine dioxide mouthrinse, a statistically significant improvement in odor pleasantness, reduction in odor intensity, and reduction in oral volatile sulfur compound concentrations compared to the water control were evident at 2 hours postrinse and persisted through 8 hours postrinse. The mean (+/- SD) odor pleasantness improved from -1.25 +/- 0.31 at baseline to -0.73 +/- 0.33 at 2 hours postrinse in the chlorine dioxide group compared to -1.40 +/- 0.38 at baseline to -1.31 +/- 0.67 at 2 hours in the control group (P < 0.01). Odor pleasantness reached its maximum change from baseline to 0.63 +/- 0.45 at 8 hours postrinse. The mean (+/- SD) log-transformed sulfide monitor measurement decreased from 5.40 +/- 0.29 at baseline to 5.17 +/- 0.13 at 2 hours postrinse in the chlorine dioxide group, but increased from 5.47 +/- 0.40 at baseline to 5.56 +/- 0.54 at 2 hours in the control group (P < 0.01). As measured by the sulfide monitor, the mean volatile sulfur compound concentration in the chlorine dioxide group reached its minimum level at 8 hours postrinse (change from baseline in the log-transformed Halimeter measurement of -0.35 +/- 0.31). Thus, this study demonstrates that a one-time use of a chlorine dioxide-containing mouthrinse significantly improves mouth odor pleasantness, reduces mouth odor intensity, and reduces volatile sulfur compound concentrations in mouth air for at least 8 hours after use.