Are Probiotics Good for Oral Health?

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Dental probiotics are one of the most controversial topics in the dental field. Some people claim that dental probiotics bring immense benefits, while others claim that oral probiotics are a mere myth. In this article, our dentist Barrie explores to help you figure out what dental probiotics are and whether they are worth it or not.

Definition of Probiotics

Both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization define probiotics as microorganisms that are safe for human consumption. Probiotics refer to healthy bacteria. For decades, probiotics have been in use in certain types of food to enhance their health benefits. However, the benefits of probiotics span beyond their basic nutrition factor. They help enhance the digestive health of humans. Recent research reveals that probiotics are also effective in keeping the mouth healthy. The United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has never issued a statement in support of or against oral probiotics. However, other studies have revealed the key benefits of probiotics as follows:

They Eliminate Bad Breath

One of the most common dental issues among patients is bad breath. Many patients are embarrassed about bad breath and shy away from sharing the issue with anyone, including their dentists. Bad breath could adversely affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. People with bad breath are self-aware and often afraid of getting close to other people.

Many factors could cause bad breath, including bad bacteria in your mouth, harmful bacteria in your gut, and other factors. A recent study was conducted among 23 people. They used an antimicrobial mouthwash and later took a supplement with oral probiotics for three days. Of the people who took the probiotics, 85% of them had a significant decrease in the bad bacteria in their mouths.

Prevents Plaque Build up

The mouth consists of many bacteria, some good and some harmful. Harmful bacterial could lead to the build-up of plaque in the mouth. However, there is a study conducted in 2016 revealed that a strain of bacteria known as A12 was effective in fighting Streptococcus mutants, commonly associated with causing cavities. Oral probiotic contains the A12 bacteria that guards the mouth against plaque and cavities.

Reducing Inflammation

Another research revealed that probiotic is effective in managing and reducing inflammation. This study conducted in 2007 showed that patients who took any form of supplement that contained the Lactobacillus Brevis bacteria noticed lessened inflammation. In addition, another study revealed that patients recorded a significant reduction in oral inflammation by drinking probiotic milk.

Prevents Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a more common problem than most people experience. The good news is that a study conducted in 2013 revealed that dental probiotics could help prevent oral cancer. In this study, researchers conducted tests on rats. More studies are still ongoing to prove the effectiveness of oral probiotics in preventing oral cancer.

Treating Gum Disease

The common indicators of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, include tender, swollen, and bleeding gums. Periodontitis is a progressive disease that affects the supporting tissues of the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. A 2006 study indicated that probiotics are effective in reducing the symptoms of gum disease. This study involved giving 59 patients suffering from gum disease a probiotic supplement. After two weeks, patients who took a significant dose of probiotics recorded an improvement in symptoms of gum disease, including reduced plaque. Another study revealed that consuming probiotic milk daily helped reduce oral inflammation, a common symptom of gum disease.

Sources of Probiotics

Many fermented or enriched foods contain probiotics. These foods include soft cheese, yogurt, enhanced milk, Miso, and sour pickles. You can ingest oral probiotics in supplement form, including mouthwashes, powders, and pills. Supplements contain higher concentrations of probiotics than foods. Therefore, you should be careful when taking probiotic supplements if you have an increased risk of infection. It is advisable to consult your doctor before you start taking any probiotic supplements. You should also ensure that you do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

Whether Probiotics Really Work

Many studies on dental probiotics seem positive. However, additional studies may be necessary to prove whether probiotics are effective in fighting pathogenic bacteria in the mouth. The additional studies will further reveal which dental probiotics are most suitable in maintaining good oral hygiene and the foods and supplements that contain these probiotics.

The Bottom Line

Taking a dental probiotic could positively impact certain dental issues that you might be facing or issues you would like to avoid. However, taking care of your dental health should still be your top priority. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing every night, and visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups are the best ways of ensuring that your teeth remain clean and healthy.

Whether you take oral probiotics or not, it is important to ensure that you take good care of your teeth to prevent the formation of dental cavities. If you face any dental issues or want to learn more about oral probiotics, we invite you to book an appointment with Molson Park Dental. Contact us today to have your teeth checked by an expert team of dentists.