Are probiotics a game-changer for oral health? - truthpaste
April 24, 2023

Are probiotics a game-changer for oral health?

By Marisa Battrick

What are probiotics?

You will often hear them referred to as ‘good’ bacteria. This is an oversimplification. 

The role of probiotics has been historically largely focused on gut health. However, over the last decade, more research has led to mounting evidence of the multiple benefits of oral probiotics in keeping a healthy oral microbiome.

Probiotics in oral health

Your teeth, gums and mouth are a delicate system made up of various bacteria, yeasts even (sorry) fungi. As grim as this can sound, there is a balance that we need to maintain to keep healthy. This is where probiotics can really help. 

Research has shown that taking probiotics orally in mouthwash, toothpaste, or chewable tablets can help to reduce the bad bacteria and support the health of teeth and gums. 

How can probiotics improve oral health?

Research is still ongoing in this area, but scientific studies have shown growing evidence that probiotics can ease and even improve common oral care complaints such as:

  • Cavities

  • Gum disease

  • Halitosis

  • Periodontal disease

Moreover, research is showing a correlation between a healthy oral microbiome and overall health. This makes sense given that your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Keeping it healthy reduces the risks of more serious illnesses such as type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and heart disease. 

Do probiotics cure bad breath?

Alone, no. But the research does indicate that using probiotics in your oral care will help fight the pathogenic bacteria that can cause bad breath. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet and good oral care practices in order to keep a healthy balance of oral Microbiome. 

Are probiotics harmful?

No, although like anything else, there is a recommended intake. Anyone with an autoimmune deficiency, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and elderly or very young people should check with their hygienist or pharmacist before ingesting. In toothpaste or mouthwash, it’s good to remember that you aren’t ingesting the probiotic, rather you are letting it coat your teeth and gums. It’s always worth reading up on the latest research and checking with your dentist or healthcare practitioner if you aren’t sure.

Do probiotics for oral care work immediately?

Research has shown that probiotics need to be used for approximately 3 weeks before making a noticeable difference. Unlike gut probiotics, oral probiotics are not very effective if taken as a swallowed tablet. It’s really best to apply it directly in a toothpaste, lozenge or mouthwash. 

Should you use probiotic mouthwash?

Using a probiotic mouthwash is a great way to introduce probiotics into your oral care routine.

Since a mouthwash isn’t ingested, it is a very low risk in terms of adverse effects but could have potentially huge benefits. 



Gabriel Berg et al (2020) Microbiome definition re-visited: old concepts and new challenges. BMC 

Hemarajata P, Versalovic J. (2013) Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 

Erik Dassi et al (2018) The short-term impact of probiotic consumption on the oral cavity microbiome. Scientific Reports

Surina Sehgal (2022). Should Dentists use probiotics? Dentistry Publication Online

Isabelle Laleman, Wim Teughels (2015) Probiotics in the dental practice: a review, Quintessence International

Sari A. Mahasneh and Adel M. Mahasneh. (2017) Probiotics: A Promising Role in Dental Health Dentistry Journal

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