Pesticides Kill Beneficial Mouth Bacteria

Pesticides Kill Beneficial Mouth Bacteria

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Mouth Bacteria

The mouth is home to numerous naturally-occurring beneficial bacteria, which are our first line of defense when it comes to maintaining good health. Weak links in this defense, such as bacterial imbalance and/or poor oral hygiene, may contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular concerns, cognitive issues and compromised oral immunity. (2,3,4)

Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) is a bacteria that must be kept at bay in the mouth. S. mutans has been linked to tooth decay, plaque formation and more. (2-5) Poor dental health and oral hygiene can allow dangerous bugs like S. mutans to enter the bloodstream and deposit in areas like the brain, heart and arteries.

A new study found that farmers exposed to pesticides had significantly lower numbers of beneficial mouth bacteria and more harmful bacteria in their mouths. In some cases, they saw a complete extinction of normal mouth bacteria in farmers who were exposed to pesticides. More concerning was that these microbial changes that originated from spring/summer pesticide exposure lasted into the winter. (1)

lifespa image, pesticides, farmer spraying pesticides on crops

Pesticides designed to kill crop-destroying insects also kill the microbes that live on and support the plants themselves. Plants, and the bacteria that live on the plants, enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Pesticides will kill not only the bacteria on the plant – altering its intelligence – but they may also kill the beneficial bacteria in our mouths. The importance of eating organic foods and thoroughly washing your produce has never been more apparent!

Over millions of years, we have evolved to allow certain microbes in the mouth to initiate numerous functions of the body, including digesting wheat and gluten. There are microbes in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine that manufacture specific digestive enzymes that break down the hard-to-digest gliadins in wheat. Pesticides run the risk of breaking down our digestive strength and resulting immunity that has taken millions of years to evolve. (6-10)

Streptococcus salivarius: King of the Mouth

One of the most important immune-boosting mouth bacterium is Streptococcus salivarius (S. salivarius). In studies with school-aged children over a six-year period, researchers evaluated the differences in saliva samples in kids with healthy and unhealthy immune systems. Kids that were healthier had a higher concentration of S. salivarius. (22, 23) The unique strain they isolated is called Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084. LifeSpa’s chewable oral probiotic contains immune-boosting S. salivarius and is sweetened with xylitol, which also supports a healthy mouth microbiome, dental health and oral hygiene.

Streptococcus salivarius has been shown to be an effective colonizing probiotic, which means that it adheres to the skin of the mouth and intestines and boosts the proliferation of other healthy bacteria. (11)  

Here are the clinical uses of Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084:

  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

Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084 has been shown to adhere to the cells of the oral cavity and populate there in significant numbers, supporting upper respiratory health. (12-14) 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. (12-15)

In one preliminary study, both children and adults saw a statistically significant impact on throat, tonsil and middle ear health with S. salivarius DSM-13084 supplementation. (12,13) In another preliminary study, S. salivarius DSM-13084 positively affected the presence of Candida albicans in the oral mucosa, and may even inhibit its attachment to denture-based acrylics. (17)

lifespa image, pesticides, mouth bacteria, woman checking for bad breath

Get to the Source of Bad Breath

When certain bacteria on the tongue and in the oral cavity break down, certain proteins in the mouth, volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are released that cause bad breath. In one study, 13 subjects that were supplemented with Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084 had a substantially lower level of VSCs than did the controls. (18)

Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084 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. (18-21)

By supporting healthy microbial populations that limit the proliferation of sulfur-producing bacteria, you can get to the source of bad breath.


  14. Streptococcus salivarius K12 colonisation – dose response. BLIS Technologies Ltd. June 9, 2009.

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Dr. John

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