HealthDay News — Probiotics may relieve halitosis in the short term, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online December 20 in BMJ Open.

Nengwen Huang, from the State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases in Chengdu, China, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effect of probiotics on halitosis from a time perspective. Randomized controlled trials that compared the effects of probiotics and placebo on primary outcomes (organoleptic [OLP] scores and volatile sulfur compound [VSC] levels) and secondary outcomes (tongue coating scores and plaque index) were identified; the meta-analysis included data from 7 articles. Based on follow-up time, the data were subgrouped and analyzed in the short term (no more than 4 weeks) and long term (more than 4 weeks).

The researchers found that compared with the placebo group, in the probiotics group, the primary outcomes of OLP scores and VSC levels decreased significantly in the short term. In the long term, there was only a significant reduction observed in OLP scores. Secondary outcomes did not differ significantly between the groups. No evidence was seen for publication bias. The pooled estimate was stable in the leave-one-out analysis.

“Probiotics (e.g., Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus reuteri, Streptococcus salivarius, and Weissella cibaria) may ease halitosis by reducing the VSC concentration levels in the short term, but there is no significant effect on the major cause of halitosis such as plaque and tongue coating,” the authors write.

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