Our digestion system is home to millions of microbes that come in contact with our body at each meal we have on a daily basis. Our mouth alone inhabits more than 100 species of bacteria that prevent you from contracting infections. Most do us good and some trigger oral diseases and unpleasant breath. In fact, it’s not as simple as the bacteria infecting our oral health, there’s more to it. The imbalance of the number of bacteria and how we manage to keep their wild growth are also related to this. We often don’t realize that from our ignorance to oral health maintenance, we have provided a favorable condition for them to grow out of control. Therefore, we need to regularly brush and floss our teeth.
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How do probiotics help oral health?
Probiotics are associated with healthy microbes that contribute goodness to the health of our digestive system. It turns out that they might actually help maintain our oral health as well. We can find probiotics in fermented foods like kimchi, sourdough bread, yogurt, kefir, and many others. Probiotics are also served in form of supplements.
Moreover, it is advisable for us to include probiotics in our diet to boost our digestion health. We have always had a real connection to probiotic foods since a long time ago. Many countries have adopted the ‘pickling’ method and let microbes flourish within our preserve foods. We consume fermented milk in form of yogurt or in some countries like Bulgaria especially, they have it raw. Some studies suggest that the benefits we could possibly gain from probiotic foods for our oral health are as follows:
Fight against Plaque
A study conducted in 2016 by Xuelian Huang and others has proven how bacteria identified as A12 interfere in the process of Streptococcus mutans creating acidic conditions in the mouth that will, later on, develop into plaque and cavities. Streptococcus mutans will transform the sugar trapped beneath our teeth into lactic acid. From this research, we can denote that bacteria A12 helps us slow down S. mutans from producing any plaque.
Improve Gingivitis Symptoms
A study assessed the effectiveness of probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri in gingivitis treatment. The symptoms of gum disease include enlarged yet delicate gums and teeth. In this research, 59 people participated as the subjects of the research. They were prescribed a probiotic supplement and in two weeks they needed to return to check on the progress. It appears that those with the highest dose of the probiotic supplement had their gingivitis symptoms improved with fewer plaques as well.
Another study has also shown the effectiveness of probiotic supplements to improve the inflammation that occurs from gingivitis. The species Lactobacillus brevis contained in the supplements also successfully calmed the inflammation.
Improve Unpleasant Breath
There are many contributing factors for bad breath and one of them is from the uncontrollable bacteria activities. Moreover, a study confirmed that 23 subjects who undertook antimicrobic mouthwash and then had either probiotic Streptococcus salivarius in the form of supplement or a placebo afterward for 3 days. 85% of the participants treated with Streptococcus salivarius had a great improvement in declining the number of bacteria responsible for the unpleasant breath. However, further studies are required to observe how effective probiotics are in reducing severe cases of halitosis.
Is It Safe to Use Probiotics for Oral Health?
Yes, they are safe for long-term use. However, please refer to the dosage as advised by the manufacturers. Be cautious with consuming high-level probiotics for children, the elderly, and women in their pregnancy.
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