Oral Probiotics: Should You Take Them to Cure Bad Breath?
Hi everyone. Welcome back. Today's topic is all about mouth probiotics. After the gut, the second largest and most diverse microbiome in the body is located in our mouth.
Mouth probiotics are becoming more popular because of the research being done showing the connection between oral dysbiosis and systemic diseases, and that's in part due to the pathogenic bacteria in our mouth influencing our inflammation pathways in the body.
There's also research showing that a healthy oral microbiome may offer protection against cavities, and oral diseases, and may actually affect our immune health, our brain health, and our metabolism because of its close connection to the gut microbiome.
I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietitian at Oswald digestive clinic, where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome gut issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms and would like to work with our clinic, you can schedule an appointment with us.
You can also download our free guide, Five Ways To Improve Your Gut Health if you'd like to get started right away.
Okay, so let's jump into today's topic.
There are estimated to be about 700 different species of bacteria in our mouth, and these microbes are part of what we'd call our oral microbiome. The balance of these microbes is affected by our diet, smoking, antibiotic use, and also our oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene leading to plaque formation has been shown to increase the gram-negative bacteria in our mouth, and this bacteria has been associated with LPS, which is lipopolysaccharides, which may increase inflammation in the body.
The research is showing that when we have oral dysbiosis, which is the imbalance of the good and the bad bacteria in the mouth, it can lead to things like dental caries, periodontal disease, which is an oral inflammatory disease, gingivitis, which is associated with bleeding, swollen and painful gums, receding gums, as well as halitosis, which is bad breath.
So you can see why people are starting to become more interested in mouth probiotics.
Mouth Probiotic vs. Regular Probiotic
So let's talk a little bit about the difference between a mouth probiotic and a normal probiotic that you would take.
Probiotics designed for your gut were intended to survive long enough to make it to the gut, so they were created to be swallowed either in capsule or powder form so that they traveled down your GI tract to get to where they need to go.
Mouth probiotics are created differently and we want them to dissolve in our oral cavity instead of being swallowed so that the microbes actually stay in our mouth.
Ways To Improve Oral Health: Oral Probiotics For Bad Breath
So now let's talk a little bit about what we can do to improve our oral health and our oral microbiome.
Decrease Sugar Intake
The first thing that we can do is we can decrease our sugar intake. Excessive sugar intake has been shown to promote the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth. So just by decreasing the sugar in our diet, we can help prevent that bad bacteria from overpopulating our mouths.
Increase Polyphenol Intake
The second thing we can do is increase our polyphenol intake. Regular consumption of foods and beverages that are high in polyphenols has been shown to help inhibit the growth of bad bacteria in our mouths.
Consider Micronutrient Intake
Another thing you may want to consider is your micronutrient intake. There are nutrients that can positively affect your oral health, and there are ones that negatively can affect it, especially if you're deficient in them.
So things like iron, copper, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K, and many B vitamins as well. For example, adequate vitamin C can actually help to reduce that inflammation in any bleeding gums that you may have.
Oral Probiotics For Bad Breath
The fourth thing that we can do is incorporate mouth probiotics. The research is showing that they can actually break up the biofilms in our mouths, and what a biofilm is? It's a structure that a bacteria can create around itself to protect itself from our immune system and any treatments meant to kill it. So it's that protective barrier and mouth.
Probiotics can actually break through that so that our immune system and any treatments can actually work to kill that bacteria.
Oral probiotics that include Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus brevis have been shown to be effective in the management of dental caries, oral candida infection, halitosis, which is that bad breath we talked about, and also periodontal disease.
If you do take a mouth probiotic, we recommend that you take them before bed without food to help them adhere to the oral cavity.
Switch To Herbal Toothpaste
My last recommendation for you today would be to consider switching to an herbal toothpaste or a mouthwash, and the one I'm going to talk to you about today is called Dentalcidin®.
Dentalcidin is made with 18 botanical extracts as well as essential oils, and the research has shown that they help break up biofilms as well as assist in oral microbial diversity, and also can help decrease inflammation in the mouth.
In review, maintaining a balanced oral microbiome is important to help reduce the risk of inflammation and oral and systemic diseases.
So the big question is...
Should you take a mouth probiotic?
And I would say yes, if you're having symptoms, there's very little risk in trying it and seeing if it helps you. If you wanted to, you could actually test the microbes in your mouth to see if there's any dysbiosis going on.
Oral DNA labs can test for low, moderate, and high pathogens in the mouth if that's something that you're interested in, but just know it's not necessary.
The bottom line is if you're having any symptoms like bleeding gums, bad breath, or frequent cavities, you may benefit from just trying a mouth probiotic, also decreasing your sugar, and then also trying herbal toothpaste or mouthwash. Just try these things for a couple of months and see if you notice any difference in your symptoms.
Okay, that's it for today.
We have several nutrition blogs about probiotics and be sure to check them out. I hope you found this blog to be helpful. If you're interested in working with our clinic, you can check the link below.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH