Probiotics for Oral Health
Recent research shows that you might do more than brush, floss, and see your dentist twice each year. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy gut, scientists think probiotics may help fight some of the most common diseases of the oral cavity. Although products containing probiotics continue to flood the market, foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut should not be overlooked as potential sources
What Are Probiotics?
You probably associate bacteria and yeast with disease and sickness. Living within your body, however, are trillions of these organisms that have many vital functions. For example, these bacteria and yeast play a significant role in fighting harmful bacteria and helping you recover from illness. Most of the trillions of healthy bacteria reside in your gut and comprise what is known as your microbiome. The microorganisms making up the microbiome play a role in digestion, metabolism, and obesity.
Products containing probiotics typically contain two types of helpful bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Additionally, they contain a good yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii. One way to view the role of these good microorganisms is that they help keep your body in balance. If you have inflammation or infection in your body, your body is out of balance. Probiotics help restore your body’s balance to make you feel better.
Probiotics and the Gastrointestinal Tract
Since most of our healthy microorganisms live in the gastrointestinal tract, probiotic supplements are typically taken to restore gut health. For example, taking an antibiotic causes significant changes in the microbiome that can be helped with probiotics. And while most people take probiotics for various gastrointestinal tract issues, the beginning of this digestive system, the mouth, is often overlooked as a possible beneficiary.
Probiotics and Oral Health
Researchers continue to discover new benefits, including enhanced oral health, that we derive from probiotics. This would seem logical since the mouth serves as the gateway to the gastrointestinal tract and contains more than 700 species of microorganisms. Fortunately, most of these cause no harm. A few of them, however, can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. As a result, various strains of probiotics for preventing and treating these oral diseases have received extensive research recently.
Probiotics and Gum Disease
Gum disease begins with mild inflammation known as gingivitis caused by dental plaque. If the cause of inflammation is not removed, your gums begin to bleed. This process can eventually progress to more advanced periodontal disease. One study showed that oral probiotics containing a strain of Lactobacillus may help reverse the microbial imbalances that cause moderate to severe gingivitis. The probiotic improved gum health by inhibiting plaque formation, exerting an anti-inflammatory effect, and acting as an oral antimicrobial to eliminate harmful bacteria. Another study confirmed these findings and recommended probiotics as an adjunct or alternative to some traditional periodontal treatments.
Probiotics and Tooth Decay
Probiotics may also reduce the risk of tooth decay. A study was conducted in which expectant mothers were given probiotics in their last month of pregnancy. Their newborns were given probiotics during their first year. They showed less gum inflammation and dental caries when they were evaluated at nine years of age. In addition, young adults could decrease the level of bacteria that cause tooth decay after eating cheese that contained probiotics for three weeks.
The effects of probiotics on oral conditions such as periodontal disease, dental caries, and halitosis look promising. Although more research is needed to confirm the current findings, patients may want to learn more about the possible benefits of eating foods or taking supplements containing probiotics.
Call us at 281-358-6330 or contact us online today to set up an appointment for a comprehensive oral examination and learn more about how to maintain optimal oral health.