Bad breath but also problems with the teeth and gums can be solved or at least mitigated with a few small tricks, such as taking probiotics. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research that appeared in the BMJ Open journal (Huang et al, BMJ Open, 2022).
Mouth health and probiotics
Bleeding gums, inflamed gums but also bad breath, these are among the most common causes, together with tooth decay, for which we go to the dentist. Oral cavity hygiene is essential to combat these conditions but sometimes we need extra help, such as acting on the bacterial flora that populates our mouth. Previous studies had already observed that the intake of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis, made it possible, in 30 days, to reduce the symptoms of periodontitis, such as plaque, gingival bleeding and inflammation and receding gums. The authors of the study we are discussing today therefore wondered if taking probiotics could also help in the case of bad breath. In fact, halitosis, or bad breath, is mainly caused by the excessive production of volatile sulfur compounds by the bacteria present in the mouth, which are also involved in periodontal diseases. It can therefore be hypothesized that a different composition of the oral microbiota, with a greater presence of good bacteria, helps not only to improve the health of teeth and gums but also the freshness of breath. Here's what the study found.
Probiotics counteract bad breath, the study
The research is a review performed on previous studies aimed at analyzing the action of probiotics, which are good live bacteria, in case of bad breath. What has emerged is that the intake of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, Streptococcus salivarius and Weissella cibaria, has made it possible to reduce halitosis and the formation of volatile sulfur compounds that, as we have seen in the previous paragraph, are the main cause of bad breath. Noteworthy is the fact that the results were observed just a few days after taking the probiotics.
Taking probiotics is known to help improve the intestinal microbiota, with benefits on digestion but also on the health of the whole body, since probiotics help reduce inflammation and strengthen our immune system. But from today we know that probiotics are also useful for the health of the mouth, keeping away inflammation of the gums, protecting the teeth and also counteracting and reducing bad breath. Probiotics are found in the form of supplements but can also be taken with the diet. For example, we can mention yogurts that report their probiotic content on the label, but also fermented foods such as miso, kombucha or sauerkraut.