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Looking to Kill Bad Breath? Try a Probiotic Gum

For some people, standard oral hygiene isn't sufficient when combating bad breath. A new study from the University of Copenhagen suggests that gum containing lactobacillus reuteri (a probiotic) may improve halitosis.

The findings were published online ahead of print on December 20, 2011, in the journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavica.

This small scale study included 28 19-25 year olds who suffered from halitosis. For fourteen days, 12 of the participants ate one piece of chewing gum in the morning and one at night consisting of isomalt, hydrogenated palm oil, sucrose esters of fatty acids, peppermint oil, menthol flavor and sucralose. The other 16 ate the same gum but with an added supplement of lactobacillus reuteri.

The researchers took measurements at the onset and conclusion of the study and found that the organoleptic scores of the probiotic group, which were about equal to the placebo group at the beginning of the study, were noticeably lower. In organoleptic testing, researchers smell a person’s breath to evaluate their level of halitosis.

Due to the small size of the study and other biological factors which were present, the researchers caution that more needs to be done in the examination of the effects of probiotics on bad breath. They suggest this study shows that probiotics may be useful as a supplement to other oral health measures.

Probiotics are most commonly known for improving digestion and gut health, but they have been linked with numerous other health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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