You brush. You floss. You rinse. You chew. Still, you can never banish bad breath for good. If you suffer from chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, probiotics might offer exciting possibilities.
Ongoing research indicates using good bacteria might provide a long-term solution to the mouth's foul-smelling odours.
Find out how taking probiotics for bad breath could change your oral outlook.
What Exactly Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that benefit your health. Many use probiotics — which are found in fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut as well as supplements — to aid in digestive health. Probiotics encourage the good bacteria in your gut to grow, leaving less room for the bad. Similarly, both good and bad bacteria reside in your mouth. Researchers continue to explore how probiotics can impact your oral health, including bad breath.
What Types of Bacteria Cause Bad Breath?
Bacteria found on the tongue and below the gums produce the foul-smelling gas behind most cases of bad breath. These bacteria emit volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) — such as hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan — that smell like rotten eggs and dying cabbage. While brushing, flossing, swishing mouth rinse and chewing gum can remove gas-producing bacteria to freshen breath, these methods only work temporarily since the bacteria quickly repopulate.
How Can Probiotics Help Prevent Bad Breath?
A literature review thesis from the University of Connecticut in the United States shows the best way to get rid of offensive breath is to focus on colonizing the mouth with good bacteria instead of waging war against the bad. The review cites a study, which found that the Streptococcus salivarius strain K12 effectively reduces the bacterial growth associated with halitosis. Researchers gave test subjects K12 probiotic lozenges, and after one week, 85 per cent of participants showed a significant reduction in VSC. There's even more good news. These bacteria strains also helped reduce gingivitis, pharyngitis, oral candidiasis and dental decay.
How Can You Find Immediate Relief?
To get relief from bad breath right this minute, stick with your toothbrush, mouthwash or sugar-free dental gum. However, dental probiotic supplements might help you fight off rotten breath over time. These supplements are available in lozenges, chewable tablets or probiotic drinks, and even some kinds of toothpaste contain oral probiotics.
If bad breath is a continuing issue for you, make sure to see your dental professional to rule out any underlying causes, such as periodontal disease, sinus issues or gastrointestinal disease. Otherwise, with the combination of dental probiotics and a good oral hygiene routine, halitosis should never hold you back.