Do Probiotics Help With Bad Breath? (Research Backed)

Do Probiotics Help With Bad Breath? (Research Backed)

Health starts in your mouth, so you want to make sure that you are practicing good oral care at all times!

What many people don’t realize is that probiotics can actually have a role to play in terms of oral hygiene. 

If you are someone who is struggling with bad breath and are looking for a solution, then stick around. 

We’ll be taking a look at the effect that probiotics can have on bad breath and providing some practical solutions. 

From what probiotics are to how to choose the best probiotic supplement, we’ve got you covered.  Let’s go ahead and jump right into it! 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide a wide range of health benefits, most notably improving gut health. 

While probiotics already live in your body, taking supplements can add your existing supply – leading to increased health benefits. 

So, how exactly do probiotics work? To put it in simple terms, probiotics take three essential steps: 

  • Survive stomach acid – While this is a challenging feat for most, probiotics are able to survive the highly acidic environment of the stomach and travel through both your small and large intestine
  • Reach the gut – Once in the gut, the probiotics take up residence and begin to rapidly grow in number
  • Inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens – As the number of probiotics increases, they are able to effectively crowd out the negative pathogens, balancing out the bacteria in your gut.
  • Reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases – In patients with moderate ulcerative colitis, certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics have been shown to alleviate symptoms. Probiotics may also reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal conditions, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, IBS, and Crohn's disease.

What causes bad breath?

When struggling with bad breath, sometimes the most frustrating thing can be not knowing the cause!

The truth of the matter is: there are a variety of reasons why you could be suffering from bad breath. 

Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the most common causes of bad breath:

Bacterial growth in the mouth

One common cause of bad breath is the growth of bacteria in your mouth. If not treated, this can lead to bad breath and tooth decay. 

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is something that can very quickly lead to bad breath!

This is why brushing your teeth every day, flossing, and tongue scraping is extremely important. 

Dry mouth

An overlooked cause of bad breath is having a dry mouth. Saliva helps to cleanse your mouth and remove particles that cause bad odors, so lack of moisture in the mouth may be the reason behind your bad breath. 

Smoking or tobacco use

Smoking and tobacco use is another cause of bad breath!

Not only can the smell of smoke linger on your breath, but it can also dry out the mouth and increase the chance of your developing halitosis. 

Certain foods and drinks

There are a variety of foods and drinks that may in fact be the cause of your bad breath.

Foods such as garlic, onions, and canned fish can linger on the breath for hours after eating. Drinks such as tea and coffee are also known to cause a slight odor on the breath. 

Medical conditions (e.g., sinus infections, respiratory issues)

If you have persistent bad breath and can’t seem to find the cause, one potential reason for this may be an underlying medical condition!

Some medical issues such as sinus infections and respiratory problems can lead to bad breath. 


Certain medications may lead to bad breath, often due to a mouth drying side effect. Several antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, sedatives, and antipsychotics can lead to mouth odor. 

Dental issues (e.g., cavities, gum disease)

Particularly strong bad breath can often be the result of underlying dental issues. Cavities and gum disease can often be the culprit of intense and persistent mouth odor.  

Digestive system problems

Some digestive problems such as kidney and liver disease, ulcers, and IBS can lead to issues surrounding bad breath. 

If you have been diagnosed with digestive issues and notice strong mouth odor, consulting with your doctor will often help you find a solution to this issue. 

Crash diets and fasting

When you partake in crash diets and fasting, your body begins to produce something called ketones which are chemicals extracted in response to the breakdown of body fat. 

These chemicals can often lead to a sickly sweet mouth odor. 

How do probiotics help?

Now you know what may be causing your bad breath – but how do you cure it? 

This is where probiotics can come in! There are many different ways that probiotics can help with bad breath and oral health. 

Reduces harmful bacteria in the mouth

One key way that probiotics can help with oral hygiene is by reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth. 

Probiotics can combat the presence of harmful bacteria, increasing oral health. 

Promotes a balanced oral microbiome

One key benefit of probiotics is their ability to balance the microbiomes in the oral cavity. Studies have shown that probiotics are able to regulate oral microbiome composition. 

Inhibits the growth of plaque

Probiotics help to decrease the pH of the mouth, which in turn can stop the formation of plaque bacteria. 

This greatly inhibits the growth of plaque, lowering the chance of cavity formation and helping with bad breath. 

Supports gum health

By fighting harmful bacteria in your mouth, probiotics can also help to support gum health. 

Restoring a healthy balance of bacteria in the oral cavity is one of the most effective ways to treat gum-related issues!

Helps prevent bad breath

Probiotics can be a huge help when it comes to combating issues such as bad breath. Research has shown that probiotics are effective when it comes to both preventing and treating halitosis. 

Enhances the immune system in the oral cavity

Another effect that probiotics can have on the oral cavity is enhancing the immune system. This is something that can greatly benefit your oral health and prevent a range of diseases further down the line. 

May reduce inflammation in the gums

By balancing the bacteria in your mouth, probiotics are also able to help with gum inflammation. This can ease gum pain and also prevent gum-related diseases. 

Contributes to overall oral hygiene

All of these effects that probiotics have on your mouth work together to create a clean, balanced oral cavity. This improves overall oral hygiene, eliminates bad breath, and can prevent a range of oral diseases. 

Using Probiotics for Bad Breath

If you are considering using probiotics to combat bad breath, you may be wondering exactly how this process works!

There are a few different ways that you can take probiotics for oral hygiene; let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the most popular methods. 

  • Probiotic supplements – There are a range of probiotic supplements that you can get over the counter. These supplements come in a range of forms, such as lozenges, capsules, and chewable tablets. 
  • Probiotic-rich foods – Probiotics naturally occur in a variety of foods, including yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and a range of other foods. 
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash – You can also improve your oral hygiene using certain toothpastes and mouthwashes. 

For example, this mouthwash from Boka contains probiotics to restore your oral microbiome. These n-Ha toothpastes can also help with oral hygiene and bad breath. 

Choosing probiotic supplements

So, how exactly do you choose which probiotic supplement is right for you? Here are a few things to look out for when picking out probiotic supplements! 

Check for a variety of bacterial strains

Probiotics come in a range of bacterial strains and which one you choose will greatly impact the effect that it has on you!

Discussing what you want to gain from taking probiotics with a doctor or gastroenterologist will help you get a better idea of what strains to pick. 

Verify live and active cultures

This one is particularly important if you are looking to get probiotics in your system through food. 

Often, food processing can destroy the naturally occurring probiotics, so you want to check your food labels for ‘live and active cultures’.

Ensure adequate colony-forming units (CFUs)

The ‘dosage’ of probiotics is measured in CFUs or colony-forming units. For a healthy human, around 10-20 billion CFU daily is likely a good dose, but a doctor may recommend consuming more if you are in a deficit. 

Research on strain-specific benefits

If you are looking for specific results when taking probiotics, then it is important to take the correct strain! 

Do some research before choosing your probiotic supplement to ensure you are taking the right strain. 

Consider delayed-release or enteric-coated capsules

Delayed-release or enteric-coated capsules have been shown to be more effective than standard tablets, as they release probiotics throughout the body for longer. 

They have also been proven to contain more probiotics than a standard tablet. 

Choose products with a long shelf life

In order to avoid waste, try to choose probiotic supplements with a long shelf life. 

There’s no point in stocking up on tubs of yogurt that will go bad before you can eat them, so try to also include some form of pill or capsule that will stand the test of time! 

Look for reputable brands with third-party testing

In order to ensure safety and effectiveness, be sure to buy your probiotic supplements from reputable brands that have undergone third-party testing.

This will make sure there is nothing wrong with your supplements and confirm that they actually work. 

Verify allergen information and potential side effects

If you have any allergies, it is important to confirm that whichever probiotic supplement you choose is safe for you to take. 

It’s also important to read up on any potential side effects from the supplements so you know what to keep an eye out for! 

Consult with a healthcare professional before starting

Before you start taking any new medication or supplement, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. 

This is just to make sure that you are taking the correct supplement, you are on the right dosage, and it is not going to interact with any of your medications, health conditions, or allergies. 

Check for additional beneficial ingredients (prebiotics)

If you are having trouble deciding which probiotic supplement to take, sometimes the answer can be comparing their additional beneficial ingredients. 

Some forms of probiotic supplements can have bonus added beneficial ingredients that elevate the supplement. 

Are there any side effects?

When starting probiotic supplements, many people will notice side effects such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. 

These side effects should go away on their own within a few weeks. If you notice any persistent, severe, or unusual side effects, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Other ways to reduce bad breath 

If you are looking for alternative ways to reduce bad breath, then look no further!

There are other steps that you can take in order to combat mouth odor and improve your oral hygiene:

Brush, floss, and tongue scrape 

The importance of a good oral care routine can’t be overstated. 

What many people don’t consider is the fact that an oral care routine is only as good as the products you use!

This is why it is a good idea to be purchasing high-quality products, such as an n-Ha toothpaste, high-quality toothbrush, effective floss, and a tongue scraper. 

All of these products can be bought at Boka, with their oral health range covering everything you’ll need for a great oral care routine

Avoid certain foods

There are certain foods and beverages that are known for giving you bad breath. 

Foods such as garlic, onions, and canned fish as well as drinks like coffee should be avoided if you have persistent bad breath

Traditional remedies 

Many people have found success when using traditional remedies to combat bad breath such as drinking green tea, chewing gum, or chewing on cloves. 

There are also a range of liquids that when swished around in your mouth can combat bad breath, such as apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon juice!

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