What are Probiotics?

What does the term probiotics mean? Probiotics mean “For Life”. This means that when you take probiotics, you are actually adding living microorganisms that are beneficial to your health.

Antibiotics are the opposite of probiotics. The literal translation is “Against Life”. Antibiotics are designed to destroy bacteria and viruses that are in your body. Antibiotics don’t just get rid of bad bacteria – they are non-discriminatory. They eliminate harmless and beneficial bacteria along with the bad. People using antibiotics may want to consider following a probiotic regime to replace beneficial bacteria and restore balance to the body. This may be an especially important consideration for those that use antibiotics on a daily basis, such as some medications for acne.

Probiotics first became popular due to the health benefits for your immune system, digestive tract and overall health. But did you know that probiotics can also stop bad breath (halitosis) and other oral health concerns? Extensive research continues to further understand and develop oral care probiotics and its benefits.

What are oral probiotics? They are living microorganisms and if enough of them exist, they can provide real health benefits. Oral probiotics are often referred to as “good” bacteria that produce “anti-bad” bacteria proteins called BLIS (Bacteriocin Like Inhibitory Substances). Studies have found that probiotics are not only beneficial to one’s overall health, but have positive effects on gastrointestinal function, the immune system and oral health.

Oral probiotics protect against the bacteria that cause inflamed tissue, tooth and tissue decay and bad breath. Oral probiotics can protect your mouth, gums, teeth and throat from cavities, gum discomfort, sore throats, biofilm on your tongue, bad breath and even ear discomfort. Probiotics kill the bacteria, like h.pylori that cause ulcers and bad breath. This is done by making hydrogen peroxide.

Here are the oral care probiotics I use to help with my oral health.

S. salivarius and B. ocagulans are two specific probiotics that help maintain healthy gums and teeth. These strains of bacteria multiply in the oral cavity and protect against harmful bacteria that live in the dental film buildup.

Oral probiotics are most beneficial if you take the supplements/lozenges 1-2 times per day after brushing your teeth. If taken right after brushing, the production of compounds that inhibit bad breath in the oral cavity is sped up.

According to clinical studies, 85% of subjects with bad breath (halitosis) had greatly improved bacterial flora when given the strain S. salivarius. The placebo group of the study only saw a 30% improvement. This means that the S. salivarius strain replenishes the good probiotic bacteria, thus helping combat against bad breath.

For bad breath, the Streptococcus salivarius K12 probiotic (Aktiv-K12) strain is highly effective.  It is one of the best natural remedies to be found for treating halitosis. This strain is usually found in large amounts on the tongues of individuals with good oral health. When a tongue scraper isn’t enough, Aktiv-K12 is helpful in treating white or coated tongue caused by dry mouth or bacterial infections.

Who should try oral probiotics?

  • If you suffer from bad breath, you may want to consider trying oral probiotics. Bad breath is often caused by oral or gastrointestinal health, or a combination of the two.  Oral probiotics deter the harmful bacteria that thrive in your mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract that cause bad breath.
  • If you have white or coated tongue. When your oral flora in imbalanced, this can result in white or coated tongue and bad breath.
  • If you have gum disease.  As people age, they tend to develop a coated or white tongue, periodontal (gum) disease and bad breath. Dry mouth is a common problem as well due to the lower production of saliva in the mouth.
  • If you travel. It is recommended to take probiotics while traveling to combat foreign microorganisms that live in food and water that may result in illness.

Other causes of bad breath can be: diet, dental problems, alcohol, smoking, dieting and other diseases. If you have a serious disease, please consult your doctor for treatment, as probiotics may not be enough to fix your bad breath.