The mouth: The gateway to health with probiotics
New probiotic makers say unique product aims to support oral & gut health.
Each of us carries something like 38 trillion little passengers in and on our body – many of them in our mouths – and now a Dunedin biotechnology company says it is experiencing high demand for a new probiotic designed to support oral health as well as gut health.
Those “little passengers” are micro-organisms, mostly bacteria, and Blis Technologies says its unique UltraBLIS® product, launched in February, is aimed at probiotic activity in the gut and oral cavity to help support immune systems.
While probiotics’ role in supporting gut health is well known, their role in oral health is less so. Blis Technologies Chief Marketing Officer, Julie Curphey, says many people don’t understand how the mouth is an important first line of defence against “bad bacteria”.
“Most people would be highly surprised at what’s going on in their mouths,” she says. “They might link poor oral health to bad breath and gum disease – and they’d be right – but science is also increasingly uncovering a link between oral health and overall wellbeing, including heart health, circulation and brain function.
“So the mouth is like the front door to the human body – and an oral-targeted probiotic is a first line of support for the body’s defences.”
Curphey says Blis Technologies’ products stems from “groundbreaking” work from Emeritus Professor John Tagg while at the University of Otago Microbiology Department more than 30 years ago – identifying BLIS K12™, a strain of Streptococcus salivarius bacteria that set the company on its way to forming products aimed at oral health.
“Professor Tagg discovered specific strains of ‘friendly’ bacteria, effective in crowding out bad bacteria in the mouth – and he is still very much involved in our discovery work.”
Blis Technologies has commercialised two strains of oral targeted probiotics, both strains of S. salivarius, which are naturally found in the oral cavity of healthy humans.
Curphey says BLIS K12™ also supports the ear nose and throat health of infants and children and is also effective against bad breath (halitosis)*. BLIS M18™ was discovered later and supports healthy bacterial balance for dental health*.
“It’s generally accepted that gut probiotics support your immune system,” she says, “so we have gone one step further and combined that with BLIS K12™, so we are directing support to both areas.”
It is aimed at all users, she says, particularly for those living a fast-paced, often stressful, lifestyle who want to stay healthy and productive. If your immune system is under-prepared, it may not respond quickly when faced with threats – and our body needs to support and respond to the demands of living a busy and sometimes hectic lifestyle, often re-directing energy and resources that otherwise would be used for immunity.
“So we sometimes need to help our bodies protect us by providing extra support – bolstering ‘good bacteria’ is a good place to start.
“People generally don’t realise that, although most micro-organisms exist in the gut, they also live in the mouth, the throat, inside the nose and on our skin.
“They also don’t realise that a product which has 25 different strains and 60 billion good bacteria won’t necessarily work as well as one which is targeting specific areas. UltraBLIS has only three strains but when you are taking highly researched strains such as BLIS K12™, HOWARU® Bifido HN019 and L. bacillus La-14® [the latter two aimed at the gut], you can be confident you are getting a great supplement to support your immune system.”
UltraBLIS is also easy to take – it is a lozenge with a peppermint flavour, the latest advance from this small Kiwi company and its world-leading, advanced oral probiotics which have attracted attention internationally, in The United States, Australia and Canada, opening up vast new markets for the innovative Blis Technologies.