Oral probiotics are living microorganisms that can provide various health benefits if enough of them exist. They are known as "good" bacteria that produce "anti-bad bacteria" proteins (also known as BLIS). Evidence has found that it is likely that taking probiotics has a positive effect on one’s overall health, especially gastrointestinal health, oral health, and the immune system.
Oral probiotics can protect the mouth, gums, teeth, and throat from the bad bacteria that cause inflamed tissue, decay and bad breath. For one, probiotics kill ulcer-causing (and bad-breath causing) bacteria, like h.pylori, by making hydrogen peroxide, and also improves the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, which takes pressure off of the digestive system. In turn, this can improve a person’s bowel function and relieve gas and bloating. Some gastrointestinal illnesses that probiotics may aid in are inflammatory bowel diseases, antibiotic-related diarrhea, Clostridium difficile toxin-induced colitis, infectious diarrhea, hepatic encephalopathy, irritable bowel syndrome and food allergies. They can help decrease the problem with food allergies by reinforcing the barrier function of the intestinal lining.
Probiotics help the immune system function by increasing the amount of “good” bacteria in the body, helping fight off bad organisms that may try to gain a foothold in the system. They also can prevent and fight yeast and fungal infections (i.e. candida, oral thrush, vaginal yeast infections and athlete’s foot). They even can help reduce lactose intolerance because they can break down lactose and produce the enzyme lactase. Probiotics can also be used after or during a session of taking antibiotics; they can immediately recolonize the beneficial gut flora that are destroyed by antibiotics. The problem with antibiotics is that they kill both good and bad bacteria, thus sometimes leaving the immune system needing to be detoxified. They can increase levels of circulating antibodies and enhance the responses of circulating immune cells. Some have been found to secrete antimicrobial substances known as “bacteriocins” which inhibit the strength of harmful bacteria.
The probiotics S. salivarius and B. coagulans are two specific strains of beneficial bacteria that help maintain healthy gums and teeth. These work very similarily to the probiotics that target your digestive flora. What these probiotics do is populate in the oral cavity and help protect the mouth against harmful bacteria that exist in dental film buildup. The success rate of other oral probiotics depends on their ability to survive the acid of the stomach and the alkaline conditions in the duodenum, stick to the intestinal lining and colonize the colon.
Usually the probiotics can achieve their goal if you take supplements/lozenges 1-2 times per day after brushing. If you do it right after brushing your teeth, this speeds up the production of the compounds that help inhibit bad bacteria in your mouth.
Research shows that S. salivarius and B. coagulans can help the immune system flora. Taking supplements of S. salivarius orally helps reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body. Studies show that B. coagulans increases the white blood cells’ ability to find bacteria invaders, boosts the immunity system’s response to a bacterial attack, and improves the performance of the natural killer cells, another type of immune cell.
Clinical studies showed that 85% of subjects with halitosis (bad breath) who received the strain S. salivarius greatly improved their bacterial flora balance as compared to 30% in the placebo group. Those with chronic bad breath definitely need to replenish the good probiotic bacteria in their system!
If you’re serious about getting rid of bad breath, try the Streptococcus salivarius K12 probiotic strain. It is one of the best natural remedies for bad breath. This good bacterial strain tends to be found in high amounts on the tongues of healthy individuals. Also, if you have a coated/white tongue, probiotics can help you get rid of that. Dry mouth or a bacterial infection can cause you to have a white coating on your tongue. You can also try a tongue scraper.
If you determine the root cause of your bad breath, that will determine how effective taking probiotics will be. Bad breath can be caused by an issue in both your oral health and gastrointestinal health. Probiotics help the bad breath that is caused by harmful strains of bacteria in your mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal region. An imbalance of oral flora often can cause bad breath, and tongue coating in younger people is a common cause bad breath. As people get older, they tend to have a coated tongue as well as other periodontal (gum) diseases that can cause halitosis. Other common causes can be: dental problems, gum disease, certain foods, alcohol, dry mouth, cigarettes, dieting, and other diseases. Obviously, if you have a serious disease, probiotics may not be enough to get rid of your bad breath problem. You may require other medical care. It is even recommended that while traveling to take probiotics in order to combat foreign micro-organism that could reside in the food and water.
When researched, good bacteria found in the human mouth included the following different phyla:
* Firmicutes – This included members of the genus Streptococcus, Gemella, Eubacterium, Selenomonas and Veillonella.
* Actinobacteria – Including members of Actinomyces, Atopobium, Rothia
* Proteobacteria – Including members of Neisseria, Eikenella, Campylobacter
* Bacteroidetes – Including members of Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Capnocytophaga
* Fusobacteria – Including members of Fusobacterium, Leptotrichia
* TM7 phylum (there are no cultivable representatives for this one)
Streptococcus mitis was the species found the most in the human mouth.
As far as the bad breath culprits, these are the bad bacteria types:
Unidentified oral bacterium
Common Flu / Swine Flu
Studies show that probiotics can help protect against the common flu / swine flu. A recent research paper from New Zealand by Chilcott, Tagg, et al entitled “Elevated Levels of Interferon Gamma in Human Saliva Following Ingestion of Streptococcus Salivarius K12 (AktivK12)” gives us insight into a simple method proven to stop the flu symptoms within 8 hours of its onset.
Interferon Gamma is known to contribute non-specific immunity against many intracellular viruses and bacteria. Human and murine leukocytes can produce Interferon Gamma when exposed to TheraBreath AktivK12 cells. During a viral infection the concentration of the flu virus can increase during the first 2 days. However, an increase in the production of Interferon Gamma during the same time leads to a decrease in the viral concentration.
1. Haraszthy VI,Zambon JJ,Sreenivasan PK, Zambon MM, Gerber D,Rego R, Parker C. Identification of Oral Bacteria Species Associated with Halitosis. American Dental Association Volume 138 Number 8, pp 1113-1120. 2007
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