Frequent or persistent malodor (halitosis) represents a considerable embarrassment to those affected. French pine bark extract, Pycnogenol® (PYC), has displayed antibacterial activity against a broad range of bacterial species. In the present study, anticipated benefits of PYC on diminishing halitosis were investigated. Ten healthy males and 11 females, aged 40.1±12.3 y, were recruited based on threshold breath sulfur compounds presence, diagnosed by portable gas chromatography. Subjects were randomly assigned to either sugar-free gums, or gums bearing an additional 2.5 mg PYC per piece. The subjects were required to consume two pieces of PYC or placebo gum six times daily for 15 min. The levels of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), measured by OralChromaTM, and tongue-coating score were recorded at baseline, 2, and 4 wk. Hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in saliva were cultured on Brucella blood agar plates containing 0.05% cysteine, 0.12% glutathione, and 0.02% lead acetate. The group consuming PYC chewing gum reduced exhaled hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide significantly (p<0.01) after 2 wk versus baseline. Continuation of daily PYC-gum consumption for 4 wk remarkably lowered the tongue-coating score and exhaled hydrogen sulfide was significantly decreased compared to the placebo group. PYC chewing gum significantly reduced hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in saliva after 4 wk (p<0.01), with no effects observed in the placebo control. The results suggest that PYC chewing gum is effective in reducing oral malodor by decreasing the accumulation of tongue coating and the number of hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in saliva.
Keywords: Pycnogenol®; chewing gum; oral malodor; salivary bacteria; volatile sulfur compounds.