'Good' Bacteria Fight Bad Breath, Smelly Feet
Discovery May Lead to New Treatments for Feet, Mouths
WebMD News Archive
July 27, 2005 -- Scientists have found bacteria that fight bad breath and smelly feet.
The bacteria weren't concocted in a lab or discovered deep in a tropical
rainforest. They were spotted in a very common location: the human mouth.
In fact, some of those bacteria may be snuffing out bad breath in your mouth
right now, if researcher Ann Wood and colleagues are right. Their report
appears in Environmental Microbiology.
Wood is a senior lecturer in the life sciences department of King's College
London. Odor-Eating Bacteria
Lots of bacteria like to set up shop in the mouth. Some are pesky, like the
bacteria tied to gum disease. Those bacteria may also be bad for your heart,
but brushing and flossing can help get rid of them.
Other bacteria in the mouth may freshen your breath, write Wood and
colleagues. The bacteria probably don't smell pretty. They don't act like
perfume, masking bad smells.
Instead, the bacteria eat stinky compounds, write the researchers. Those
compounds are released when proteins containing sulphur break down in the
'Good' Bacteria Found in Mouth, Feet
The helpful bacteria were found in the mouths of healthy volunteers and
those with gum disease. The researchers had previously found the same kind of
bacteria on human feet.
Bad breath or smelly feet might be due in part to low levels of the
bacteria, the researchers suggest. But they didn't check bacteria levels in the
More studies on the topic may lead to a natural way of reducing bad breath
and smelly feet.
Meanwhile, practicing good hygiene may help. A doctor may be able to help
with serious cases.