Yogurt: An Antidote to Bad Breath?

Active Ingredient in Yogurt May Fight Bad Breath

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 10, 2005
From the WebMD Archives

Forget the breath mints. Pass the yogurt.

A new study suggests that a daily dose of yogurt may keep your breath fresh and fend off offensive odors.

Researchers found that eating 6 ounces of yogurt a day reduced levels of odor-causing compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, in the mouth.

They say the results suggest that the active bacteria in yogurt, specifically Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, may have a beneficial effect on odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Yogurt vs. Odor-Causing Bacteria

In the study, which was presented this week at a meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Baltimore, researchers looked at the effects of eating yogurt on bad breath and bacteria in the mouth.

Before the study began, 24 healthy volunteers were asked to avoid yogurt and other foods containing the same bacteria found in yogurt, such as cheese and pickled vegetables, for two weeks.

Researchers then took saliva and tongue coating samples to measure bacteria levels as well as odor-causing compounds, including hydrogen sulfide.

During the study, the participants ate about 3 ounces of yogurt twice daily for six weeks.

At the end of the study, researchers took samples again. They found that odiferous compounds, namely hydrogen sulfide, decreased in 80% of participants.

In addition, levels of plaque and the gum disease gingivitis were also significantly lower among yogurt eaters.

Although further studies are needed to confirm these results, researchers say the study suggests that adding yogurt to the diet may be a safe and effective way to fight bad breath.

Show Sources

SOURCES: 83rd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, Baltimore, March 9-12, 2005. News release, International & American Association for Dental Research.

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