Bad breath? Certain types of probiotic bacteria can help

When it comes to persistent bad breath, the types of probiotic bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt, sourdough bread, and miso soup can help alleviate bad odor, a new study suggests.

An analysis of previous studies revealed that certain bacteria taken as supplements, including Lactobacillus salivarius Y Lactobacillus reuteriit could help freshen your breath, according to the report, published Tuesday in BMJ Open.

Bad breath, or halitosis, β€œIt is the third most common disease for patient referral to the dentist, behind only [cavities] and periodontal disease,” the Chinese researchers write.

One of the main causes of persistent bad breath is gaseous mixtures of sulfur and other elements, known as volatile sulfur compounds, produced by bacteria in the mouth, the researchers say.

Would it be possible to neutralize the effects of these compounds?

To take a closer look at whether probiotic bacteria could help control bad breath, the researchers searched the medical literature for studies on the topic. Ultimately, they found seven clinical trials involving a total of 278 people aged 19 to 70.

bad breath severity in the trials was assessed by measurements of the compounds detected in the mouth, along with a score indicating how strong bad breath odors were at various distances from the mouth.

When the researchers pooled data from all seven studies, they found that compounds linked to bad breath were significantly decreased in participants who consumed probiotics, compared to those who received placebos. However, the improvements were not permanent and lasted for about four weeks.

While the findings were encouraging, the researchers noted that the original studies were quite small.

“Further high-quality randomized clinical trials are required in the future to verify the results and provide evidence of the efficacy of probiotics for the management of halitosis,” they said.

The findings make sense, said Dr. Alessandro Villa, chief of oral medicine, oral oncology and dentistry at Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. What is not known is whether substituting real foods like yogurt or pickles will have the same positive effect as taking a supplement.

It would be reasonable for a person with bad breath to do a short experiment, for a week or so, to see if eating those fermented foods might make a difference, Villa said.

Fermented foods and probiotics are made up of live beneficial microorganisms, but it’s important to know what types and how many bacteria they contain, said Dr. Martinna Bertolini, an assistant professor in the department of periodontics and preventive dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

“One thing to consider is that the consumption of dairy products to include a diet rich in probiotics can also lead to an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates and sugars and lead to a greater accumulation of plaque and biofilm,” Bertolini said in an email. .

Nutritionist Perri Halperin said people with persistent bad breath should see a dentist for possible underlying health problems.

“It could be indicative of health issues that aren’t necessarily dental issues,” said Halperin, coordinator of clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Possible causes of bad breath include:

  • gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Certain foods, such as garlic.
  • Tonsil problems
  • kidney disease
  • severe diabetes
  • Dry mouth

Dry mouth, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce adequate saliva, can be the result of poor hydration as well as medications, such as some used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes, Villa said. .

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