Just when you though you’ve heard of everything, researchers from the University of Copenhagen published the results of a study on the effects of probiotic chewing gum (containing lactobacillus reuteri) on morning breath.
Morning breath is basically a euphemism for bad breath or as it’s known clinically, halitosis. Typically, halitosis is worse in the morning because your mouth is exposed to less air during the night. It’s estimated that 30% of the population suffers from halitosis.
What Causes Morning Breath?
Perhaps the more appropriate question would be, what doesn’t cause morning breath… The laundry list of potential causes can include nasal, oral, and pharyngeal infections as well as respiratory, gastrointestinal, and metabolic conditions.
[box type="note"]Relative to oral causes, deep within the fissures of your tongue, anaerobic bacteria are hard at work breaking down amino acids into malodorous volatile sulfur compounds giving you the joy of stinky breath. The more gunk you have coating your tongue, chances are the worse your breath will be.[/box]
As well, periodontal disease is the most common pathological dental condition which leads to bad breath. Read: Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Probiotics and Morning Breath?
Back to the probiotic study, participants between the ages of 19-30 with self-reported bad breath were recruited and screened for the study. Smokers were excluded.
How did the researchers measure bad breath? Speaking of the worst job in research, this study employed 3 organoleptic certified judges from Bristol, UK. Basically, they had 4 different methods that involves smelling the participants breath from a distance of 5-10 cm. In one method, the subjects were asked to say “Ha-Ha-Ha” while the Bristol judge evaluated the smell of their breath. The researchers also used a halimeter to measure volatile sulfur compounds.
What Were the Results?
The researchers did find that after two weeks of daily usage of a probiotic chewing gum in the morning, the test group had statistically significant improvements in halitosis scores relative to the placebo users. However, the level of improvement was fairly marginal clinically. Regardless, expect that probiotic gum will be coming soon to a store near you.
- Keller MK, Bardow A, Jensdottir T, Lykkeaa J, Twetman S. Effect of chewing gums containing the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri on oral malodour. Acta Odontol Scand. 2011 Dec 20. [Epub ahead of print]