For decades, probiotics have been used to increase the amount of "good" bacteria in the intestines of those with digestive problems. Today, the treatment may be used to treat everything from cavities to thrush to halitosis, according to a recent medical report.
A study published in the International Journal of Contemporary Dentistry stated that introducing Streptococcus salivarius bacteria into the mouth after using a mouthwash can reduce levels of sulfur on the breath.
Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are largely responsible for the odor of bad breath. When the tongue and teeth become dry or coated with food particles, oral microbes go to work producing VSCs, which give exhaled air a rotten egg-like smell.
Oral care probiotics can reduce the amount of these compounds by replacing harmful bacteria with a strain that will not produce odor molecules, researchers said.
They added that the application of other "good" bacteria strains to the teeth and gums may also be able to reduce the incidence of gingivitis, cavities, periodontal disease and thrush, which is an oral yeast infection. All of these conditions may cause halitosis, meaning their elimination may further sweeten breath.
To neutralize VSCs and improve oral health, individuals with bad breath may consider using a specialty breath freshener and oral care probiotics.