Battling Bad Breath

Published on August 15, 2016 by Dr. NavNirat Nibber

I Smell Pretty…

In today’s world we all strive to look and feel our best, making the most of aesthetically appealing elements such as the way we look and the way we smell. Our noses have become very sensitive to all sorts of smells so there’s no wonder we spend so much time and money on smelling heavenly with various hair products, body gels, and perfumes. But it doesn’t stop there. Bad breath can sometimes be detrimental to our efforts and cause people to become self-conscious. What is the root of bad breath, what can be done, and how can we face the problem head-on? 

The Bad Breath Buster

Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by a number of factors. It may indicate a local exposure to malodorous foods, an infection or a deeper more systemic concern. The odour itself relates to volatile compounds that have a high sulfur content; these compounds are produced by gram-negative bacteria on the tongue or between and around the teeth.

Halitosis can be a short-term issue resulting from sulfuric foods, tobacco products, or dry mouth. Alternatively, persistent halitosis can indicate a systemic or local infection, post nasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), kidney disease, or even liver failure. Fortunately, systemic diseases only account for 10% of the cause for persistent halitosis.

Cleaning the tongue, by brushing or rinsing with mouthwash, can remove some of the compounds bacteria feed on such as food remnants or dead cells thus clearing away the bad bacteria or masking the odour for a period of time.

Treatment of the underlying cause is effectively the best approach. One of the most effective treatments is to ensure that the oral microbiota (good bacteria) is healthy.  Blis K12 is a patented strain of the probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12  developed in New Zealand, to ensure a healthy oral microflora. By increasing the good bacteria present in the mouth you can reduce bacteria that causes bad breath and acts as a first line of defence against infections.

The Oral Microbiome

Much of the research over the last decade regarding the systemic benefits of maintaining a diverse bacterial microflora has led to a greater awareness of the gut bacteria. However, beneficial bacteria exist outside of the gut and on the skin, nose and throat. Bacteria in the mouth and throat initiate digestion, drug metabolism, barriers against infection, and communicate with the immune system. These bacteria are also integral to dental structure and health. A number of strains have been identified as oral probiotics and have been researched as tablets, sprays, mouthwashes etc. for a number of oral health concerns arising from dysbiosis, an imbalance in your gut flora caused by too few good bacteria.

Research on beneficial oral bacterial strains is growing, Blis K12, stands out as there are human clinical trial associated with its use making it one of the best solutions for keeping your breath smelling fresh, not funky. The lesson to remember here is that in order to keep our breath smelling sweet on the outside, we need to focus on keeping the good bacteria on the inside.

References

Kreth, J., Giacaman, R. A., Raghavan, R. and Merritt, J. (2016), The Road Less Traveled – Defining molecular commensalism with Streptococcus sanguinis. Mol oral Microbiol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/omi.12170

Wescombe PA, Hale JD, Heng NC, Tagg JR. Developing oral probiotics from Streptococcus salivarius. Future Microbiol. 2012 Dec;7(12):1355-71. doi: 10.2217/fmb.12.113.

Di Pierro F, Colombo M, Zanvit A, Risso P, Rottoli AS. Use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 in the prevention of streptococcal and viral pharyngotonsillitis in children.Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2014 Feb 13;6:15-20. doi: 10.2147/DHPS.S59665. eCollection 2014.

Penala S, Kalakonda B, Pathakota KR, Jayakumar A, Koppolu P, Lakshmi BV, Pandey R, Mishra A. Efficacy of local use of probiotics as an adjunct to scaling and root planing in chronic periodontitis and halitosis: A randomized controlled trial.J Res Pharm Pract. 2016 Apr-Jun;5(2):86-93. doi: 10.4103/2279-042X.179568.

  • Heather Rae, Inhc

    Oil pulling, too, with coconut, olive or sesame oils.
    See Reid Winick DDS, Sustainable and Holistic Dentist, talk on The Oral-Systemic Link: The Mouth as a Barometer of the Gut
    http://functionalforum.com/october-2015-functional-forum/