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 overwhelm and get rid of the bad bacteria that causes bad breath.
In this article, you'll learn all about taking dental probiotics for halitosis including:
- How bacteria causes 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 sweeter breath.
Table of contents
What are oral probiotics?
According to the NIH, 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 licorice 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 odors.
Tonsil stones — calcified food debris that forms on your tonsils — can also cause bad breath, and we've got a separate article about oral probiotics for tonsil stones if this is your case.
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 colonized 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 was more effective than just mouthwash alone in fighting bad breath.
Are oral probiotics the same as 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 diarrhea.
Don't take more than directed, and talk to your doctor before beginning, especially if you are prone to infection, are a senior, or are pregnant. Pediatricians should also be consulted before children begin taking probiotics.
Best probiotics for bad breath
Now let's have a look at some of the best oral probiotics you can take to help get rid of bad breath.
cariPRO dental probiotics
CariPRO dental 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. Specifically these probiotics:
- Fight plaque buildup and decay
- Support good breath
- Improve gum health
- Build immune defenses
- Optimize the oral microbiome
With cariPRO, 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. What's more, they are made and tested in the US and are non-GMO, vegetarian, and free from preservatives, sugar, and artificial colors and flavors.
To take them you chew a tablet after brushing or after using your mouthwash, before going to bed. Make sure not to rinse after chewing.
They also taste great because they have a pomegranate berry flavor, naturally sweetened with stevia leaf extract.
CariPRO makes 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. Find out more in our article about oral probiotics for kids.
And if you aren't happy with the results, you can get a full refund.
Here's the full ingredient list:
- L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, S. salivarius K12
- Natural cherry pomegranate type flavor
- Stearic acid
- Dicalcium phosphate
- Malic acid
- Stevia leaf extract
Wild Fuel dental probiotics
These probiotics are specifically targeted towards people who want fresher breath and are advertised as “confidence in a tin.” Each tablet has 3 billion colony-forming units of bacteria, that will reinforce the good bacteria in your mouth and chase out the bad.
The main bacteria in these tablets are L. paracasei, L. reuteri, L. sakei, and L. salivarius.
Each tin comes with 45 chewable tablets that have a natural mint flavor, are made in the US, are sugar, and cruelty-free and non-GMO. Get yours now!
Great Oral Health probiotics
Great Oral Health probiotics are another 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.
These are made in the US with all-natural ingredients and are sugar-free, lactose-free, and made without any artificial flavors. The manufacturer even claims that these probiotics will support enamel demineralization.
Here's the full list of ingredients:
- L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, L. paracasei, L. salivarius, S. thermophilus
- Glyceryl behenate
- Spearmint flavor
- Dicalcium phosphate
- Stevia leaf extract
Here's a summary of the products mentioned above:
L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, S. salivarius K12
Great Oral Health
L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, L. paracasei, L. salivarius, S. thermophilus, S. salivarius
L. paracasei, L. reuteri, L. sakei, L. salivarius
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, contributing to the phenomenon of 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 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.
Do dental probiotics work for bad breath?
Yes, dental probiotics do 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.
Smithsonianmag.com: The History and Science Behind Your Terrible Breath. Consulted 20th November 2021.
Scientificamerican.com: To Beat Bad Breath, Keep the Bacteria in Your Mouth Happy. Consulted 20th November 2021.
University of Connecticut: Contribution of Probiotics Streptococcus salivarius Strains K12 and M18 to Oral Health in Humans: A Review. Consulted 20th November 2021.
Pubmed: A Preliminary Study of the Effect of Probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 on Oral Malodour Parameters. Consulted 20th November 2021.