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Probiotics are mostly known for their impact on gut health. However, research has shown that going a further step to include probiotics in our oral health regimes can significantly promote a healthy microbiome in the mouth.
Several studies suggest that probiotics in certain foods and supplements can help fight gum disease, plaque, and bad breath. This is because probiotics focus on promoting the growth of good bacteria in the oral cavity, which helps to curtail harmful (pathogenic) bacteria that usually contribute to bad breath, plaque, and dental inflammation.
Do Dental Probiotics Really Work?
Like the gut, the mouth has its own oral microbiome that needs to be in balance to support a healthy mouth. Specifically, a strain of bacteria known as A12 is especially beneficial in fighting a cavity-causing bacterium called Streptococcus mutans. As you know, cavities develop when clusters of bacteria (plaque) create an acidic environment that breaks down the enamel. A12 works against the harmful activity of bad bacteria and prevents plaque build-up.
Other probiotics like Streptococcus salivarius are effective in combating bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis, dental caries, and other oral issues.
Research shows that oral probiotics work by:
- Improving the immunity of the mouth
- Creating biofilms to block bad bacteria from reaching the enamel or gum tissue
- Altering the mouth’s pH, making it harder for pathogens to live and thrive
- Inhibiting bacteria that produce the sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath
Sources of Oral Probiotics
Diet alone provides abundant amounts of prebiotics that feed probiotic bacteria in your body. Foods that include beneficial prebiotics include raw oats, unrefined wheat, barley, onions, garlic, chicory root, flax seeds, apples, asparagus, leeks, etc.
Probiotic foods include yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, buttermilk, kimchi, tempeh, etc. To ensure you are getting a proper daily dose of probiotics, consider taking them as chewable tablets/supplements or lozenges. These allow the beneficial bacteria to be delivered directly to the mouth’s surfaces to boost oral health.
Improving Oral Health
Besides consuming probiotics, individuals should adopt additional oral hygiene practices and oral care services—offered by Gentle Care Dentistry—that promote a healthy microbiome in the mouth. These include:
General dental care: This includes brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted toothpaste and flossing once a day.
Professional cleaning: It’s important to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups.
Interested in Learning More?
Ultimately, probiotics restore balance and improve your oral health. If you want to learn more about oral probiotics or are worried about the current state of your mouth, don’t hesitate to get in contact with Gentle Care Dentistry. Call us at 575-524-9826 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.