can probiotics change your taste buds

Can Probiotics Change Your Taste Buds? (how bad?)

Dr. Dimitar

Medically reviewed by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, September 14, 2023

Like the gut, vagina, or urinary bladder, our mouth also possesses an oral microbiome that influences our oral health and taste perception.

For this reason, probiotics, especially in the Lactobacillus and Streptococcus genus, may harbor the potential to alter the composition of the oral microbiome. This also hints that if you already have a stable microbiome, you may not notice any changes in taste.

In this article, you will learn why your mouth tastes change and how probiotics can help to recover it to normal.

So, keep reading to find out more.

Key Points:

Can Probiotics Affect Taste?

woman tasting a cup cake

Yes, probiotics may affect taste by restoring the gut and oral microbiome. 

However, remember that the potential of probiotics to affect taste is limited only to reinstating your normal taste perception.

The underlying reason for an abnormal taste may be related to a disorder of the gut or immune system.

The reason behind this is that the taste in your mouth may be potentially influenced by your immune system process, the protection it confers against infections, and the state of your gut.

Correspondingly, Dr. Peel (Dentist) replied to this question on that a bacterial or fungal infection of the mouth or even blood or acid in it causes a sour or metallic taste in the mouth. 

Likewise, good supplemental bacteria may also alter the taste in the mouth while it is re-adjusting the oral microbiome. 

Now you might be wondering if probiotics cause loss of taste. The answer is no; there are no reported cases of users who have complained of it.

But wait, there is still more information on how probiotics affect the taste in the next section, so stick to the end.

Can Probiotics Affect Mouth?

Yes, probiotics may affect your mouth, but in a good way. You may notice improved taste perception and oral health, as well as a reduction in bad mouth odor.

However, this potential is not limited to only the regular oral probiotics, which are available as a mouthwash or chewable tablets but also encompasses probiotics that support gut and immune health.

Therefore, here are some changes in the mouth that you may expect while taking probiotics.

Improvement in Oral Health

Oral/ dental probiotics can improve the health of gums and teeth, which can ultimately prevent oral diseases.

Research has proven that certain probiotic strains have therapeutic potential in tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis/periodontitis, oral thrush (Candidiasis), respiratory infections (e.g. sore throat), tonsillitis, and oral cancer.

Not just that, it can also help in healing and preventing mouth sores

In the upcoming sections, I have included my top probiotic picks for improving oral health.

Still, here are some examples of bacterial species that you can spot on product labels while searching for probiotics that may alleviate oral health problems.

  • Gum diseaseLactobacillus Brevis
  • Gingivitis Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Oral CancerLactobacillus salivaris REN, Lactobacillus GG, Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Dental caries/ tooth decayLactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacillus sp., Lactobacillus Brevis, Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Oral thrush (candidiasis), tonsillitis – Streptococcus salivarius K12
  • Cold soresLactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Respiratory infectionLactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus gasseri
  • TonsillitisStreptococcus salivaris K12

May Manifest Changes In Taste

A disruption in the oral microbiome may cause an unusual, bad, or loss of taste in the mouth. Hence, taking probiotics may restore your normal taste perception by re-populating the oral microflora.

In this context, research proves that oral bacteria influence the detection threshold of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes.

For instance, a study published in 2019 highlighted the association of tongue bacteria with taste perception. The researchers identified five bacterial genera whose abundance was significantly higher on the tongue of supertasters as compared to non-tasters (lower taste buds).

These genera were ActinomycesOribacteriumSolobacterium, Catonella, and Campylobacter.

For example, the presence of Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes in tongue film increases taste sensitivity, especially to bitterness.

However, a weak gut or immune system may disrupt the normal oral microbiome. 

Therefore, probiotics that promote immune system function or strains that restore gut health may help regain normal taste.

Here is why. 

  • A Sub-Optimal Gut Functioning May Release Unpleasant By-Products

Numerous studies prove that an intact gut is essential for preserving taste function.

Regarding this, researchers have reported that the by-products of gut microflora metabolism, such as short-chain fatty acids, act as a stimulus for taste receptors and maintain proper taste function.

In addition, the incomplete breakdown of food can cause a buildup of gases and release unpleasant odors in the digestive tract, which may also make your mouth taste awful.

Some examples of probiotic species that improve gut health are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bacillus subtilis.

Also, you don’t have to stress over buying expensive oral probiotics because you can get a similar benefit from gut health probiotics.

Not only do their strains overlap with each other, but they also directly impact oral health by promoting digestive function.

  • An Activated Immune System May Modify Taste Buds

The immune system can affect the acuity and sensitivity of taste perception.

An inflammation response of the immune system decreases the taste acuity because it releases certain immune cells that trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) of taste bud cells and delay their renewal.

Additionally, this inflammation response may also modify the expression of taste receptors, which may simultaneously decrease taste sensitivity.

Besides that, bad taste in the mouth may also occur due to oral thrush, gingivitis, and respiratory infections like tonsillitis or sinusitis, so treating them may also retrieve your sense of taste. 

From this information, it is evident that oral disease prevention is crucial for preventing the development of a foul taste in the mouth.

Therefore, in the heading above, I have already recommended some strains that can treat and prevent these oral conditions.

Apart from that, the Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis species are especially good for improving immune function.

It may Prevent Bad Breath

It is a good idea to use probiotics for oral care because they help to restabilize the oral microflora and eliminate the pathogens that cause foul breath.

Regarding this, research has shown that bad breath mainly occurs due to the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, which produces foul-smelling gas (aka volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSCs)). 

Correspondingly, a recent 2022 review and meta-analysis identified two S. salivarius strains, K12 and M18, and one used Weissella cibaria species that can counter this issue.

For instance, in one study, 85% of the subjects in the intervention group who received the probiotic S. salivarius K12 after an antimicrobial for 3 days had marked reductions in halitosis (an oral disease in which the main symptom is bad breath).

The researchers observed that the probiotic bacteria competitively colonized the mouth, which suppressed the growth of bacteria implicated in halitosis.

Are There Any Probiotics For Bad Taste In Mouth?

Yes, here are the three such probiotics that you can use to get rid of the bad taste in your mouth.

1. Replenish The Good Dental Probiotic

dental probiotics

CFU: 3 billion CFUs

Dosage: You can take one or at most three tablets daily.

Probiotics Strains/Strains: 

  • 2 lactobacillus strains (L. paracasei, L. reuteri)
  • 2 Streptococcus strains (S. salivarius BLIS K12, S. salivarius BLIS M18).

Form/Type: chewable tablets

Certifications: none

Storage: It is shelf-stable for up to 18 months and doesn’t require refrigeration.

Cost: You can buy a bottle containing 30 capsules for $28.49, but additional delivery charges will also be added to it.

Replenish the good dental probiotics is formulated with clinically proven strains for oral care and immune system support.

It eliminates all the reasons that may cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth, like oral thrush, tooth decay, and gingivitis, with the S. salivarius K2 and S. salivarius M18 strains, respectively.

Additionally, it contains L. paracasei and L. casei, which strengthen the immune function. Furthermore, L. casei exhibited a promising potential for improving digestive function.

Where to buy: 

2. Burst Oral Care Probiotic

burst probiotics

CFU: 6 billion CFUs

Dosage: You can take one to one of the lozenges and allow them to dissolve in the mouth or chew them. For maximum benefit, avoid drinking or eating for at least 30 minutes after it.

Probiotics Strains: 

  • 4 Lactobacillus strains (L. Parcasei 8700:2, L. Plantarum DSM 6895, L. acidophilus, L. reuteri)
  • 2 Streptococcus strains (S. salivarius BLIS K12, S. Salivarius BLIS M18)

Form/Type: lozenges

Certifications: none

Storage: It remains shelf-stable for up to 18 months without refrigeration.

Cost: You’ll have to pay $34.99 for one bottle containing 45 lozenges and delivery charges unless you order above $50.

The Burst oral probiotics are designed to replenish the ear, nose, and throat microbiota.

The L. Plantarum prevents the development of periodontal diseases and inhibits candida growth (oral thrush) which may eventually aggravate and produce a bad taste in the mouth.

Similarly, the S. salivarius strains decrease plaque accumulation and prevent oral thrush.

The L. reuteri has proven roles in preventing gingivitis, whereas L. acidophilus and L. paracasei replace the harmful bacteria to prevent caries.

Moreover, it comes in spearmint flavors that will instantly freshen up your mouth.

Nonetheless, these are just some of the many benefits of these strains on gut, oral, and immune health and, ultimately, on the taste of mouth.

Where to buy:

3. Optibac Every day Probiotics

optibac probiotics every day

CFU: 5 billion CFUs

Dosage: You should take one to two capsules daily, preferably with breakfast. If it is difficult for you to swallow the capsule, consume it by dissolving the contents in a cold food or drink.

Probiotics Strains: 6 strains; 2 Lactobacillus strains (L. rhamnosus Rosell-11, L. acidophilus/helveticus Rosell-52), 3 Bifidobacterium strains (B. longum Rosell-175, B. breve Rosell-70, B. bifidum Rosell-71), 1 Lactococcus strain (L. lactis Rosell-1058)

Form/Type: capsule

Certifications: It won the platinum prize in the best gut health probiotic for 2023. It is packed in FSC-certified cartons.

Storage: You should store it in a cool, dry location with temperatures below 25 °C and away from sunlight to ensure that it retains maximum effectiveness. However, store it in a refrigerator to preserve its maximum potency after opening it. 

Cost:  You can purchase a one-month supply (30 capsules) for $17.99. In addition to this, you may also be charged standard USA delivery charges of $4.99 or $6.99 for express delivery.

Optibac Every Day probiotics are specifically formulated to support digestive and immune health, ultimately preventing the development of a bad taste in the mouth.

Some of its many strains that play important roles in this regard are L. reuteri, B. lactis, L. acidophilus, B. breve, and L rhamnosus.

Studies show that L. reuteri and B. breve strains establish themselves in the oral microbiome and crowd out the harmful bacteria that may cause dental carries and gum disease.

Similarly, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and B. lactis have been extensively studied for their potential to strengthen digestive and immune function.

As mentioned above a properly functioning immune system prevents oral diseases.

Where to buy: 

  • You can buy it from both the official website and the Amazon store for $17.99 (30 capsules).


Can Probiotics Help with A Bad Taste in Mouth?

Yes, taking probiotics may gradually clear up the bad taste in the mouth by recovering the dysbiosis in the oral microbiome diversity. Also, they can help optimize gut health and immune function, which also positively impacts your taste sensitivity. 

Some beneficial strains, in this case, may belong to Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Bacillus species (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, and B. subtilis).

Can Probiotics Cause Metallic Taste in Mouth?

Maybe, but in most cases, a metallic taste in your mouth is not likely to be associated with probiotics. Instead, it may indicate fungal infection or blood in the mouth. 

Nonetheless, it can’t be denied that probiotics may cause changes in taste, so if you successfully rule out the other possible causes, then you may get rid of a probiotics-induced taste change in a few weeks.

Does gut bacteria affect taste buds?

Yes, gut bacteria may positively or negatively affect taste buds via their bacterial metabolites or by influencing the immune system. 

  • First, gut bacteria may release short-chain fatty acids, which may promote taste sensitivity. 
  • Second, impartial digestion of food may release unpleasant gases that may ruin the taste in your mouth. 
  • Third, certain antigens trigger the inflammatory response of the immune system in our gut, which may destroy the taste buds on the tongue and cause loss of taste sensitivity.

Can Gut Issues Affect Your Mouth?

Yes, if your stomach is unable to digest the food properly, it may lead to the production of gases that may travel up to your mouth and ruin its taste.

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