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Probiotics and Bad Breath

You may already be familiar with the word probiotics and how they can benefit the digestive tract. You may have had searched the yogurt aisle or the supplement section of the grocery store for better digestive health. But are you aware that probiotics for bad breath are another exciting possibility? 


Bad breath is an issue for almost everyone. For some, bad breath is a daily issue they struggle to resolve. Like the inside of our intestine, our mouth is literally home to at least 700 species of bacteria. These bacteria can either be beneficial for our health and well-being or not. The oral microbiome varies depending on the mouth surface. Our immune system constantly monitors the bacterial population in the mouth. Inhibiting the growth of unwanted microbes and reducing the chances of developing bad breath. However, this delicate balance can be altered by various factors such as diet and lifestyle.  


What causes bad breath? 


There are many causes for bad breath including dry mouth, lack of oral hygiene, and ear-nose-throat issues. Bad breath occurs mainly because of bacteria present on the teeth and the tongue. It usually results from lack of oral hygiene such as tongue coating, gum diseases, and plaque control. 


These conditions promote the production of foul-smelling volatile sulfur compounds or VSC. The gas-producing bacteria, Fusobacterium nucleatum, excrete a large amount of VSC are the main offenders. About 90% of the VSC found in bad breath are either hydrogen sulfides or dimethyl, which have unpleasant odors associated with rotten eggs.  


Bad breath can also result from respiratory infections such as bronchitis and sinusitis and some GI diseases. Chronic diseases like diabetes and kidney disease can also cause bad breath.  



Getting rid of bad breath with oral probiotics 


Brushing, swishing, and flossing can freshen the breath and remove bacteria. However, these methods are only effective for a short while because bacteria can repopulate quickly.  


According to a recent study, the best method to get rid of bad breath is to focus on colonizing the mouth with good bacteria rather than fighting against the bad bacteria.  

  • Oral probiotics like S. salivarius M18 and K12 are effective in reducing the bacterial growth associated with and breath. These bacterial strains were also found to be effective in reducing the VSC in the mouth. Additionally, these strains can inhibit tonsillitis, strep throat, and pharyngitis.  
  • Probiotics supplements with L. reuteri help reduce gum bleeding and gingivitis reducing the plaques in the mouth.  
  • Consuming probiotics with S. A12 can help eliminate the growth of harmful bacteria in the teeth and reduces plaque buildup. 


Oral probiotics are very good at fighting bad breath. Some research shows that they are more effective in combating bad breath than antibacterial mouthwash. Mouthwash kills the bad bacteria buildup that causes bad breath. At the same time, killing also the good bacteria that are vital to oral health. If bad breath results from an imbalance in the gut flora, correcting the imbalances by replenishing the good bacteria with probiotics supplements might help.  

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