Probiotics shut out bad breath, improve oral health
SUMMARY: It might sound odd, but with probiotics, you can fight fire with fire - or really, bacteria with bacteria.
Posted: December 20, 2011
When you have some seriously funky halitosis, getting from bad breath to fresh breath can seem almost impossible. That is doubly true when traditional brushing and flossing don't make much of a dent in a serious case of oral odor. If you can't find anything that will freshen your breath, if may be time to try probiotics.
Unlike a good tooth-brushing or tongue-scraping - or for that matter, a trip to the dentist - probiotic products don't work by scrubbing, scraping or scouring at your teeth and oral tissues. Instead, they knock out halitosis by using the ecosystem in your mouth against itself.
To do so, probiotics introduce new bacteria into your mouth. These little microbes multiply fast, rapidly crowding out those that give off the odors that make your breaths stink. The best specialty probiotic kits use bacterial species that give off bacteriocin-like inhibitory substance (BLIS), a protein that kills odor-causing microorganisms on contact.
Think of probiotics as a way to introduce a friendly, non-native species into an isolated ecosystem.
When humans do so in a natural environment, there are usually some negative consequences. Consider New Zealand: When Maoris - and later, Europeans - first reached the tiny island region, they accidentally introduced rats into the country, the first land mammals the islands had ever seen. These pests quickly killed most of New Zealand's kiwi birds. (Later efforts to kill rats with weasels and dogs only made things worse, as these animals also hunted kiwis.)
By contrast, probiotics are like the perfect non-native invader. They attack those bacteria that cause bad breath, without killing other, less harmful varieties. The microbes in probiotics are also quite safe. Investigations have shown that oral care probiotics cause virtually no side effects.
In fact, probiotics kits can be good for your oral health. A recently published study confirmed as much.
As reported by FOX News, a team of Spanish researchers looked into the effects of probiotics on gum health, dental well-being and bad breath status. They found that the non-native microbes improved oral health and reduced halitosis. The results appeared in the Archives of Oral Biology Journal.
The team noted that none of the special strains included in the test probiotics gave off any odor whatsoever.