can probiotics cause bad breath

Can Probiotics Cause Bad Breath? (7 discoveries for oral health)

Did you know that bacteria in your mouth and digestive system issues are among the most common causes of bad breath (halitosis)? 

Now, probiotics also have bacteria and other microbes. Does that mean that probiotics can cause bad breath like these other bacteria in your mouth? 

The good news for us is that probiotics don’t appear to cause bad breath. Instead, they might actually be helpful in helping you deal with a bad healthcare problem. Many of the popular gut bacteria strains are also good for bad breath but there are other strains that are only found in the mouth.

Here are some of the surprising benefits of probiotics for oral health to prevent or help with bad breath:

  • Acts as a natural mouthwash and promotes fresh breath
  • Can fight the overgrowth of candida
  • Prevents and reduces gingivitis
  • Prevents dental caries
  • Prevents plaque buildup in the mouth
  • Can fight the virus that causes cold sores
  • Promotes better gut health

We’ll cover all these later.

Which probiotics are the best for bad breath? What products have these probiotic strains and which one should you pick?

Let’s delve in!

Can Probiotics Cause Bad Breath?

No, probiotics do NOT cause bad breath. While probiotics contain bacteria, they have different strains from those that actually cause bad breath. Sulfur-producing bacteria cause halitosis, but probiotics don’t produce sulfur.

So, probiotics aren’t likely to cause bad breath.

What’s exciting is that studies have shown that probiotics can be good for bad breath, providing ways to alleviate the embarrassing condition.

Let’s discuss probiotic benefits on oral health below.

Surprising Benefits of Probiotics for Oral Health


Probiotics have long been known to benefit the gut. After all, they’re known as the “good gut bacteria.” 

The main purpose of taking probiotics for most people is to cleanse their gut. The second goal is to improve overall health because these good gut bacteria have been shown to boost the immune system.

Yet probiotics can also help improve oral health. 

The results of a 2016 review by University of Connecticut researchers showed that as many as 85% of people experienced a significant reduction in volatile sulfur compounds (chemicals that cause bad breath) after taking oral probiotics for one week.

Streptococcus salivarius strains K12 and M18 were used in this study.

Probiotic genera that are good for oral health, according to the 2021 study published in the New Microbes and New Infections journal:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Streptococcus
  • Weissella

Let’s dive into each benefit below and the mechanisms that make probiotics work.

Benefit #1: Acts as Natural Mouthwash and Promotes Fresh Breath

When you use mouthwash, the product kills the bad bacteria that cause bad breath. But it can also kill good bacteria. 

So, it’s possible that the bad breath-causing bacteria might be the ones that grow back.

Probiotics can promote fresh breath better than a regular mouthwash by not killing the good bacteria in your normal oral flora (balance in the bacterial microbiome).

According to a 2022 systematic review in the Frontiers of Nutrition journal, Lactobacillus species, and other probiotics have been proposed as a treatment option for halitosis because they reduce bacterial colonization.

systematic review on halitosis and probiotics

Benefit #2: Can Fight the Overgrowth of Candida 

Probiotics can help fight the overgrowth of Candida yeast species in your mouth

Candida yeast species are actually part of your mouth’s normal flora, but certain conditions promote an overgrowth. When that happens, you might experience thrush, which can also lead to bad breath.

Benefit #3: Prevents and Reduces Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common gum disease caused by bacteria in your mouth. It leads to redness, inflammation (swelling), and irritation of your gingiva, the gum section around the base of your teeth. 

The 2021 study mentioned above lists the following as some of the bacteria that cause gingivitis:

  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans
  • Tannerella forsythia
  • Prevotella intermedia

The study findings showed that some probiotic species can inhibit the growth of these pathogens, preventing them from causing gingivitis. Since gingivitis is a common reason behind bad breath, then preventing it from happening can help a lot in also preventing halitosis.

Benefit #4: Prevents Dental Caries 

Dental caries can lead to toothache and bad breath.

Pathogenic species that can cause dental caries: 

  • Streptococcus mutans
  • Streptococcus sobrinus
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum

The 2021 study also showed that several species of Lactobacillus and Weissella can help against dental caries.

Benefit #5: Plaque Buildup in the Mouth

Dental plaque, which develops on the teeth and tongue, is another major cause of halitosis.

According to the 2021 study mentioned above, some Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains can be effective against these bad bacteria such as Streptococcus spp.

Benefit #6: Can Fight Virus That Causes Cold Sores

Cold sores aren’t just painful, itchy, and embarrassing, they can also cause halitosis. Sadly, HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1) is developing drug resistance, making it more difficult to treat.

A 2012 study in The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases showed that Lactobacillus species, particularly Lactobacillus rhamnosus can help prevent and heal cold sores.

Benefit #7: Promotes Better Gut Health

Did you know that several gut issues can also lead to bad breath? 

That’s because the mouth is a part, actually the first section, of the digestive system. Bad-smelling gases that might be produced along the gut can easily go up and out the mouth, leading to foul-smelling breath.

Excess acids in the stomach can also lead to GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), causing your breath to turn sour.

Microbial imbalance in your GI (gastrointestinal) tract, known as dysbiosis, might also be the reason for your bad breath.

The same holds true for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). When your digestive system is gassy because of pathogenic bacteria activity, some of the gas produced can go out of your mouth. If they smell foul, then you can also have halitosis.

Some doctors even include bad breath as part of their checklist of symptoms to consider for issues along the GI tract.

Probiotics have long been established to be beneficial for the gut. 

By helping solve or alleviate the problems affecting the gut, probiotics can promote gut health and, in turn, help prevent halitosis caused by these issues.

The Best Oral Probiotics For Halitosis or Bad Breath

The 2016 review and the 2021 study above showed that the bacteria below can help with the issues or underlying reasons that lead to halitosis.

The best oral probiotics against gingivitis:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus paracasei
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Streptococcus salivarius strains K12 and M18

The best oral probiotics against dental caries:

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus johnsonii
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus salivarius LS1952R
  • Streptococcus salivarius strains K12 and M18
  • Weissella cibaria (previously classified under Lactobacillus)

The best probiotics against dental plaque:

  • Lactobacillus casei DN 114 001
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

The best probiotic against cold sores:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus

The best probiotics against Candida albicans (yeast that causes thrush and bad breath):

  • Lactobacillus paracasei
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus casei GG
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Streptococcus salivarius strains K12 and M18

The best probiotics to promote gut health (since gut issues can also lead to halitosis, as I’ve discussed above):

  • Bacillus clausii 
  • Bacillus coagulans 
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Saccharomyces boulardii 
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum LP299v
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624

As you can see, plenty of probiotics can help prevent bad breath, many through solving the root cause.

12 Probiotic Supplements For Good Breath

These are my top recommendations for probiotics supplements to enhance breath and oral health:

  1. Replenish The Good Dental Probiotic Supplements (chewable tablets) – first line of defense against common pathological invaders, promotes healthy gums and teeth, and treats bad breath from the source; contains 3 billion CFUs (colony forming units) of clinically researched strains Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Streptococcus salivarius (BLIS K-12 and BLIS M-18)
  2. Hyperbiotics PRO-Dental (chewable tablets) – freshens breath at the source, prevents plaque buildup, repopulates your oral microbiome, and offers the first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria; contains 3 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus paracasei, and Lactobacillus sakei
  3. ProDentim Advanced Oral Probiotics (chewable tablets) especially designed to repopulate your mouth with good bacteria; contains 3.5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Bifidobacterium lactis BL-04
  4. ProBiora Xtra (chewable tablets) – supports gum and tooth health, prevents plaque buildup, crowds out pathogenic bacteria that cause bad breath, and naturally whitens teeth; contains 100 million CFUs of Streptococcus uberis KJ2TM, Streptococcus oralis KJ3TM, and Streptococcus rattus JH145TM
  5. Happy Health Marketplace Pro Oral Health Probiotics & Prebiotics (easy swallow capsules) – improves breath support, promotes a healthy digestive system, provides immune support, and keeps gums and teeth healthy; contains 40 billion CFUs of Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, and Saccharomyces boulardii
  6. Restore by Pure Research Oral Probiotic (capsules) – supports fresh breath by maintaining oral health; contains 1 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium breve
  7. Burst Oral Probiotics (chewable lozenges) – promotes a balanced microbiome and freshens breath at the source; contains 6 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 6895, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Streptococcus salivarius strains BLIS K12 and BLIS M18
  8. Mars Wellness Oral Probiotic (dissolvable tablets) – helps destroy bad bacteria, promotes microbiome balance, and boosts boost ear, nose, and throat health; contains 4 billion CFUs of Streptococcus salivarius BLIS K12
  9. NatureWise Oral Health Probiotics (chewable tablets) – provides oral health support, promotes tooth and upper respiratory health, balances your oral microbiome; and freshens your breath with its minty flavor; contains 3 billion CFUs of Streptococcus salivarius strains BLIS K12 and M18, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, and Streptococcus thermophilus
  10. Great Oral Health Advanced Oral Probiotics (available in a set with different dental products) – loads up your mouth with beneficial bacteria, rebalances your oral microbiome, helps control bad bacteria growth, and improves health balance; contains Streptococcus salivarius strains BLIS K12 and BLIS M18
  11. YourBiology Gut+ (capsules) – improves digestion and elimination, strengthens immunity, and helps improve your gut health to prevent possible illnesses that might lead to bad breath; contains 40 billion CFUs of Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus paracasei, and Lactobacillus plantarum
  12. Bauer Nutrition Biotics 8 (capsules) – promotes digestion, eliminates gas and bloating, and strengthens immunity to prevent bad breath caused by gut issues; contains 20 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus fermentum, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium breve


So, if you’re feeling a little down about your bad breath and you’ve been blaming your probiotics supplement or that in your yogurt, think again.

Well, science and research say that probiotics don’t appear to cause bad breath. Instead, they might actually be helpful in helping to improve it and get rid of it.

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