5-Ways Probiotics Improve Oral Health

By Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are all the rage and easily available at your local drugstore or any health food store. In the battle against disease-causing bacteria, probiotics are a natural way to help defend your body by increasing the number of good microorganisms and fighting the bad ones. Studies have shown that these friendly bacteria can balance your digestive system impacting everything from cardiovascular health to fungal management. But can they also assist in keeping our mouth healthy too? Research says yes.

Here are 5 ways “friendly” bacteria can keep your mouth healthy too, according to recent studies. 

Fighting Periodontal Disease

More than 700 kinds of bacteria can live in your mouth, some helpful, and some harmful. Researchers have discovered that probiotics create a film in the mouth that acts as a protective sheath, which can restrict the multiplication of “bad” bacteria and improve oral health. Research found that patients with periodontal disease who used chewing gum or lozenges containing probiotics saw their periodontal status improve and another study found that drinking probiotic milk daily decreased oral inflammation.

Preventing oral cancer

Probiotics represent an emerging option for cancer prevention. A 2013 study found that probiotics may act as potential agent in oral cancer prevention, inhibiting effects of oral carcinogens,  

 Battling Gingivitis 

Gingivitis, is a mild form of gum disease that causes inflammation, irritation, and redness of gum tissue. Preventing gingivitis significantly helps to lower your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and permanent tooth loss.

Based on research, changing your diet to include more probiotics may help reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. 

Reducing Dental Plaque

We all have many different types of bacteria in our mouths and some of them cause plaque. Cavity-fighting effects of probiotics were seen in an investigation, which found the use of a mouthwash containing friendly bacteria reduced the formation of dental plaque by 20 percent. In another study researchers grew a strain of  “bad” bacteria, that turns sugar into lactic acid that leads to cavities, together with “good” bacteria that helps fight cavity causing bacteria. The “friendly” bacteria stopped the cavity causing bacteria from growing and making any plaque. 

Improving Bad Breath

Bad breath is often caused by bacteria in your mouth or gut.  Studies have shown that probiotics can inhibit  bacteria that produce sulfur compounds, the odorous substances which cause halitosis. 

A probiotic diet can boost oral and overall health

Nature provides an abundant amount of sources for boosting the friendly bacteria in your body. Probiotic foods in your diet can stop, slow or delay the process of infection that leads to oral disease.

Dairy sources of probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, cultured cottage cheese and buttermilk. Some non-dairy sources include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles as well as foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, chocolate, raw oats, unrefined barley and wheat. 

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