If you have halitosis and you're looking for a solution, you may want to consider oral probiotics for bad breath. Oral probiotics are healthy bacteria strains that already naturally exist in your oral microbiome.
They work alongside the good bacteria to restore a natural balance and get rid of the bad bacteria that cause bad breath.
In this article, you'll learn all about taking dental probiotics for halitosis including:
- How bacteria cause bad breath
- The difference between oral and gut probiotics
- The best probiotic for bad breath
We hope this information sets you on the path to better oral health and fresher breath.
The following table is a summary of all of the products discussed in this article:
Oral Probiotics for Bad Breath
Gread Oral Health Advanced Oral Probiotics
Gread Oral Health Children's Oral Probiotics
NatureWise Oral Health Probiotics
Luvbiotics Advanced Dental Hygiene Lozenges
Table of contents
What are oral probiotics?
According to the NHS, probiotics are live microorganisms that can benefit your health when consumed or applied to your body. They are, in other words, good bacteria. They help with everything from digesting food to producing vitamins or destroying harmful cells. These bacteria already exist in our bodies.
Oral probiotics are strains of bacteria that specifically improve oral health, and support a healthy bacterial environment in your mouth. You can read all about oral probiotics, including their benefits, risks, and the best kinds to take in our full probiotic guide.
The relationship between bacteria and bad breath
And 3,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians even invented a breath mint made from boiled herbs and spices. In the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Absalon uses cardamom and liquorice to make his breath sweet, hoping for a kiss.
But, according to Scientific American, it wasn't until the 1970s that scientist Joseph Tonzetich at the University of British Columbia decided to approach the problem of bad breath through a technological lens. He was able to decipher the bad smells emanating from one's breath into specific chemicals.
He found sulfur to be one of the smelliest chemicals present in bad breath, and since then, there have been approximately 150 molecular components identified in the breath. These include dimethyl sulfide, cadaverine, and putrescine.
These compounds are waste released by bacteria in your mouth that live off of the food and soft tissue in the oral cavity. Among these bacteria are Streptococcus mutans, which feast on sugar and erode enamel, although this isn't the biggest perpetrator of bad breath.
There are others, which live under the gum line and produce much more gas, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Prevotella intermedia. There are also bacteria on the tongue that can cause foul odours.
Oral probiotics for bad breath
There are plenty of ways you can try to get rid of your bad breath, including mouthwashes, using a tongue scraper, or better oral hygiene in general. But probiotics are becoming a more popular way to treat halitosis.
This study, by the University of Connecticut, found that there are two strains of bacteria in particular that can help with bad breath caused by bacterial growth. Those strains are Streptococcus salivarius, strain K12, and Streptococcus salivarius, strain M18.
When study participants took these strains, the bacteria colonised their oral cavities and reduced inflammation, as well as actually changing the physical structure and gene expression of cells in the tongue, pharynx, and buccal membrane.
These bacterial strains also helped prevent cavities, gum disease, and oral thrush, due to their production of dextranase and urease, and their ability to physically attach themselves to pathogens.
What's more, these strains of S. salivarius bacteria have been proven to be very safe for humans, and may even be used in the future to replace antibiotics during treatment for a variety of maladies, including strep throat, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis.
Other studies which have shown probiotics to help with bad breath include this one in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Study participants used chlorhexidine mouthwash and oral probiotic lozenges, which contained either a placebo or a bacteria strain over 3 days.
The results found that 85% of those participants who were treated with the bacterial strain saw noticeable reductions in their levels of halitosis, while only 30% of the placebo group did. The healthy bacteria were more effective than just mouthwash alone in fighting bad breath.
What is the difference between oral probiotics and gut probiotics?
Oral probiotics are not the same probiotics that you would take to improve your gut health. That's because each microbiome, gut and oral, is populated by different organisms. Gut probiotics contain strains of bacteria that are present in the gut naturally, and oral probiotics contain bacterial strains that are naturally present in the mouth.
In the video below, you can learn more about how oral probiotics differ from gut probiotics, and how they work to improve your oral health.
Are oral probiotics for bad breath safe?
Oral probiotics have been shown to be extremely safe, and most strains are already naturally present in your mouth, so you aren't introducing a foreign entity to your oral microbiome. However, when you first begin taking dental probiotics for bad breath, you may experience bloating, an upset stomach, or diarrhoea.
Don't take more than directed, and talk to your doctor before you take them, especially if you are prone to infection, are a senior, or are pregnant. Paediatricians should also be consulted before children take probiotics.
Best dental probiotics for bad breath
Now let's have a look at some of the best dental probiotics for bad breath.
Great Oral Health dental probiotics
Great Oral Health Advanced Oral Probiotics are a general oral health bacteria blend with a patented 7-strain formula, including BLIS K12 and BLIS M18, meant to support all aspects of a healthy oral microbiome, including bad breath. Specifically, these probiotics:
- Fight plaque buildup and decay
- Support good breath
- Improve gum health
- Build immune defences
- Optimise the oral microbiome
With Great Oral Health, you start the process of microbiome rejuvenation therapy, a therapy that has been clinically studied and found to be vital in maintaining not just a healthy mouth, but also immunity in the upper respiratory tract.
These probiotics contain BLIS K12, also known as Streptococcus salivarius K12, one of the strains we mentioned above as being most helpful in sweetening bad breath.
These are made in the US with all-natural ingredients and are sugar-free, lactose-free, and made without any artificial flavours. The manufacturer even claims that these probiotics will support enamel demineralisation.
They also taste great because they have a minty flavour, naturally sweetened with stevia leaf extract.
Great Oral Health makes oral probiotics for kids too, which are specifically designed to support sinus and oral health in children. This can be especially helpful if your child suffers from frequent ear or throat infections. The children's oral probiotics are flavoured with strawberry vanilla to make them more palatable for children.
And if you aren't happy with the results, you can get a full refund.
Here's the full ingredient list of the Advanced Oral Probiotics:
- BLIS K12, BLIS M18, L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, L. paracasei, L. salivarius, s. thermophilus
- Natural mint flavour
- Zinc citrate
- Dicalcium phosphate
- Glyceryl Behenate
NatureWise Oral Health Chewable Probiotics
NatureWise Oral Health Chewable Probiotics are designed to help you build a healthier oral microbiome while supporting ear, nose, and throat immunity, and curing bad breath in the process. Their minty flavour means that you also benefit from instantly fresher breath.
The main bacteria in these probiotic tablets for bad breath are BLIS K12 and BLIS M18 Streptococcus salivarius strains
Each bottle comes with 50 chewable tablets that have a natural mint flavour, are made in the US, are sugar-free, cruelty-free and non-GMO. Get yours now!
Luvbiotics Original Dental Lozenges with Probiotics
If you are looking for something a little less pricey to help with bad breath, try Luvbiotics probiotic lozenges. They are a good way to see if dental probiotics will work for you without spending too much right away. Each pack contains 30 lozenges that are specifically designed to help freshen your breath, improve gum health and protect against cavities.
While they aren't jam-packed with different types of good bacteria (which may be the reason they cost less than alternatives), they include other ingredients such as aloe vera to help control cavity-causing bacteria.
Here's the full list of ingredients:
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Magnesium stearate
- Natural mint flavour
- Aloe vera gel
Bad breath is caused by bacteria that feed off of the tissue in your mouth and food particles. These bacteria give off gasses, many of which smell pretty rotten and contribute to bad breath.
Dental probiotics can help fight bad breath because they are healthy bacteria strains that support those already naturally occurring in your oral microbiome. They help the good bacteria overwhelm bad bacteria, resulting in a healthier oral microbiome, fresher breath and a healthier mouth overall.
Talk to your doctor before starting probiotics for bad breath, especially if you are at a high risk of infection, are a senior, or are pregnant.
Can probiotics cure bad breath?
Yes, dental probiotics help bad breath, and there are many studies to back it up. Probiotics are good bacteria that fight against the bad bacteria that cause bad breath in the first place.
Can probiotics cause bad breath?
It's unlikely that taking dental probiotics will actually cause bad breath — in fact, quite the opposite is true. However, some strains of bacteria will be more helpful than others.
What probiotic should I take for bad breath?
Look for probiotics labelled as dental probiotics or oral health probiotics. According to evidence, the strains of bacteria that most help with bad breath are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Smithsonianmag.com: The History and Science Behind Your Terrible Breath. Consulted 17th May 2022.
Scientificamerican.com: To Beat Bad Breath, Keep the Bacteria in Your Mouth Happy. Consulted 17th May 2022.
University of Connecticut: Contribution of Probiotics Streptococcus salivarius Strains K12 and M18 to Oral Health in Humans: A Review. Consulted 17th May 2022.
Pubmed: A Preliminary Study of the Effect of Probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 on Oral Malodour Parameters. Consulted 17th May 2022.
NHS. Probiotics. Consulted 17th May 2022.