The Miracle of Mouth Microbes

The Miracle of Mouth Microbes

In This Article

Oral Health

Professor John Tagg is a world renowned microbiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His battles with his own throat health as a young boy inspired him to find a natural and proactive way to support the respiratory health of children and adults alike.

He studied school-aged children for many years, evaluating the differences in saliva samples in kids with healthy and unhealthy immune systems. Over a six-year period, he began to see a trend. Kids that were healthier had a higher concentration of a unique strain of the very popular mouth microbe, Streptococcus salivarius. (5,6)

The mouth is loaded with microbes – some good and some not-so-good. In a healthy mouth, certain microbes play a critical role in upper respiratory health, breath smell, healthy gums and teeth and the first immune response for the entire body. (1-4)

Streptococcus salivarius is one of the most important and most abundant of good microbes found in a healthy mouth. The unique strain that Dr. Tagg found is called Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 (also known as ATCC BAA-1024 or DSM 13084). (5,6)

New studies suggest that this microbe may be responsible for addressing bad breath at its source, as well as the immune systems first response in the mouth, sinuses, throat and middle ear. (1-4)

Here are the clinical uses of Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12:

  1. Promotes oral health
  2. Naturally promotes fresh breath
  3. Supports healthy immune function
  4. Supports the natural immune defenses of the ears, nose, tonsils and throat

The New Science

In one of my past articles, I discussed the future of medicine, which involves doctors dispensing certain strains of probiotics that are lacking in a patients microbiome that are related to the ailments of the patient. Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 represents one of the first applications of this new science, where probiotics are being dispensed to enhance health outside of the intestinal tract. Giving it to school-aged kids to boost respiratory immunity is just one example.

Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 has been shown to adhere to the cells of the oral cavity and populate there in significant numbers where they support upper respiratory health. (4,7,8) This oral cavity strain populates naturally, using the “power in numbers” method for boosting immunity. Such numbers have been shown to produce a significant amount of several bioactive peptides called salivaricin A and B, which also support oral health and immunity. (4,7,9,10)

In one preliminary study, both children and adults demonstrated significantly improved throat, tonsil and middle ear health with Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 supplementation. (4,7) In another preliminary study, Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 positively affected the presence of Candida albicans in the oral mucosa and may even inhibit its attachment to denture-based acrylics. (11)

Addressing Bad Breath At Its Source

When certain bacteria on the tongue and in the oral cavity break down, certain proteins in the mouth, volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) are released that cause bad breath. In one study, 13 subjects that were supplemented with Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 had a substantially lower level of VSC’s than did the controls. (12)

Streptococcus salivarius ENT-12 balances the microflora of the mouth by competing with the sulfur-producing bacteria for space in the mouth. This leaves room for good non-odorous bacteria to flourish. (12-14)

By supporting healthy microbial populations that limit the proliferation of sulfur-producing bacteria, you can get to the source of the bad breath. This is another example of how the proper balance of microbes can solve an age-old problem very simply. Again, it is all about the bugs!


  8. Streptococcus salivarius K12 colonisation – dose response. BLIS Technologies Ltd. June 9, 2009. Data on file.

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Dr. John

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