Oral Health and Probiotics
The health benefits of probiotics extend far beyond the small and the large intestines. Probiotics are live cultures naturally found in the GI tract. People often think of all bacteria as harmful, but that’s not always the case.
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that fight off “bad bacteria”. They’re added to foods, drinks, and supplements. It has been used for a long time to treatment of digestive problems. However, recent research has shown that the benefits of probiotics may extend far beyond the gut.
Studies have shown that these live bacterial cultures may help boost mental well-being, maintain vaginal health, reduce cholesterol levels and help with oral hygiene.
How do probiotics affect oral health?
Taking probiotic supplements to make your teeth and gum health may sound a little strange. It turns out that probiotic supplements can actually help maintain a healthy mouth. In fact, regular use of probiotic supplements helps lowers your risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems.
Researches are still ongoing, but many consider them a natural and effective way of fighting plaque, bad breath, and many other gum diseases.
- Fight bad breath: Bad breath is often caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth or gut. Poor dental hygiene, smoking, strong foods and beverages can make bad breath worse. Taking probiotics regularly can help reduce the number of bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Reduce the duration of sore throat: From a recently published study, probiotics may help with oral hygiene and reduce the duration of sore throat. Children who were given probiotics did contract throat infections but less treatment is needed compared with those who do not take probiotics.
- Manage oral cavities and gum disease: Another study shows that probiotics help manage gum disease and oral cavities by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the mouth. Adding more probiotics into your diet may help stop or slow down the infection process that leads to oral disease.
- Reduce oral pathogens: Another 2017 study found that probiotics may improve oral health by reducing oral pathogens. Supplementing the body with live cultures helps stimulate the body’s natural immunity. This inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that causes gum diseases.
- Prevent plaque: Certain probiotic strains can help fight S. mutans, a type of cavity-causing bacterium. S. mutans turns sugar into lactic acid, creating an acidic environment in the mouth which could lead to plaques and cavities.
- Manage the symptoms of gingivitis: Gingivitis is a gum disease that makes your gums tender, swollen and your teeth sensitive. Taking probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of gingivitis.
What probiotic strains best for oral health?
Further research is needed on probiotics for gum and teeth health. However, concerning the oral environment, few strains have been effective at preventing oral issues and improving oral health.
- According to the study, the genus Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are used in different forms for oral health.
- A certain strain of lactobacillus and Streptococcus can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay by reducing plaque. Additionally, S. salivarius may help reduce or prevent bad breath.
- L. Brevis may help manage inflammation from gum disease.
Probiotic dosage for oral health
There is no established dose of probiotics for oral health. However, guidelines exist recommending at least 1 billion CFU per serving. Take one to two tablets a day after brushing or using a mouth rinse.