One of the more serious causes of bad breath, periodontitis, is essentially an advanced form of gum disease. While typical gingivitis may be treated with basic oral care, periodontal disease can cause serious inflammation, tooth loss and halitosis. Recently, a group of researchers proposed treating the ailment with a vaccine.
The idea is not an entirely new one. Much research has gone into the uses of oral probiotic care for dispelling the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. For example, in a 2006 study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, scientists found that application of the microbe Streptococcus salivarius to the tongue resulted in significantly reduced oral odor.
For the newer study, which appeared in the journal Vaccine, researchers took a slightly different approach. They first took and cultured samples of oral flora from nearly 200 participants.
One common variety, Fusobacterium nucleatum, was identified as a target for therapy, mainly because it is a common microorganism that acts as a net holding other bacteria together in a film. These films can contribute to periodontitis and halitosis.
By introducing a modified strain of E. coli that attacked surface proteins on F. nucleatum, the team was able to significantly, though not entirely, improve symptoms of periodontal disease, including oral odor.
For those with persistent bad breath of any kind, brushing twice a day and rinsing with a specialty breath freshening product may neutralize the molecules that give breath its smell.