The use of probiotics for digestive health is becoming increasingly established in the mainstream, but a body of evidence is also growing for probiotics and oral health applications. New research, from a group of Danish scientists, has revealed that two strains of Lactobacillus reuteri have been shown to significantly reduce bad breath in halitosis sufferers. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised cross-over trial observed a small group of 19-25 year olds when they were given either a probiotic gum or a placebo.

The probiotic and placebo chewing gums had identical packaging, taste, size and colour. They both contained isomalt, hydrogenated palm oil, sucrose esters of fatty acids, peppermint oil, menthol flavour and sucralose.

The results were measured by organoleptic scores and revealed a beneficial effect for the probiotic group. However, the researchers cited no difference in volitile sulphur compounds - a known contributor to bad breath - between the groups. They commented, "long-term studies are needed to evaluate the microbial profile of oral further elucidate the research question."

Market researchers Euromonitor commented, "Probiotics are in line to become the next blockbuster functional ingredients in gum and mints."

OptiBac says: very exciting to see the evidence growing for probiotics and oral health. You may also be interested to read about a trial on probiotic ice cream!

Reference: Keller, M. K. et al (2011) Effect of chewing gums containing the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri on oral malodour. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica

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