Do dental probiotics help with bad breath? Here's what experts say
People try all sorts of things like mouthwash, mints, toothpaste, etc., but get no relief.
One of the possible solutions to get rid of horrible bad breath could be dental probiotics, but it all depends on what is causing the bad breath in the first place. The FDA hasn’t approved the usage of dental probiotics, but the majority of the ones being produced contain well-known, totally approved strains of probiotics, so they are considered safe for the majority of users.
Dental probiotics are not the same as the ones touted to help the gut such as Lactobacillus, (found in yogurt) or 6 Bifid bacterium (found in human’s gut right after birth). While they are taken in a pill, oral probiotics are taken in lozenge form.
About 90 percent of all bad breath is usually due to some sort of bacteria in the mouth that causes the bad odor. It means you have an imbalance in the microorganisms living in your mouth. These microorganisms are producing what’s called volatile sulfur compounds or VSCs.
The microorganisms in the mouth are needed to help keep the gums and teeth healthy. Any probiotic organisms in the mouth are also needed to help with digestion as well as acidity, managing the mineral balance of the teeth, along with managing the immune response of the mouth.
But, if these good bacteria get overwhelmed by bad bacteria, they can’t compete and they get imbalanced. The bad bacteria cause plaque that builds up on a person’s teeth. While normally they can live in harmony amongst the good bacteria, if someone smokes, takes antibiotics, or doesn’t brush and floss their teeth, the balance can be broken.
As the presence of bad bacteria flourish, gingival fluid fills up the pockets in the gums, which have proteins in it that the bad bacteria eat and produce the VSCs. Plus the gum Ph levels go up as the oxygen levels drop. That in turn attracts anaerobic bacteria, which is also harmful, thus the imbalance grows even more. The worse this gets, the worse bad breath a person has.
So, one of the ways to fix this is to take dental probiotics to restore the imbalance. These probiotics give off antibacterial components which kill off the bad bacteria, live amongst your oral tissue and prevent the bad bacteria from growing, and assist the immune system in working properly.
There are several types of probiotics which work well to get rid of the bad breath. According to a study from the University of Connecticut two strains of dental probiotics were found to work well in getting rid of bad breath. They are in the S. salivarius family, and are S. salivarius K12 (BLIS K12) and S. salivarius M18. They were also found to be effective against sore throat, gum disease, decay and oral thrush.
K12 normally resides on the tongue and gums, and if you have it, it means your oral health is likely good. It kills bad breath causing bacteria via putting out antibiotics, which are literally chemicals which stop the bad bacteria that cause the odor. Studies showed if someone uses K12 probiotic lozenges that it was much better at getting rid of bad breath than mouthwashes.
M18 acts in a similar fashion. It puts out four substances which lower inflammation. It works even better if it’s taken along with the K12 for at least 2 weeks.
Another probiotic that works great against bad breath is L. salivarius, which resides in your intestinal tract. It’s part of the bacteria family that releases lactic acid into the body and it helps against bleeding gums and bad breath, as well as aids digestion and supports the immune system.
One more probiotic that helps bad breath is called W. cibaria. It is normally seen in children’s mouths and studies show it reduces the amount of VSCs. More studies are planned to see how this can be used to help get rid of adult bad breath in the future.
Another thing that probiotics are thought to do is help people who have problems with not enough saliva. Saliva is vital to good dental health as it coats your teeth and reduces plaque and tartar.
The bottom line is that studies have shown bad breath is at the top of the list for the most commonly occurring oral health problems. One in four people have regular dealings with bad breath, and as much as half the population of the Earth has chronic bad breath. Thus this is a huge problem that needs a solution.
One of the top things you need to do is to go to your dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleaning of the teeth. Plus at home you need to brush and floss at least twice a day, preferably after each meal. If you still suffer from severe bad breath no matter if you do those things, then it’s time for a discussion with your dentist about using dental probiotics.
All in all, dental probiotics have been shown to have many benefits. They support the immune system, help reduce plaque, tartar, cavities and gum problems, as well as help get rid of bad breath.
Here’s our top 2 dental probiotics trending right now on the internet you might want to consider:
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