The Effects of Probiotics on Oral Health
Probiotics are famous for their positive impact on gut health – but did you know they can improve your dental health too?
Probiotics can actually improve your oral health – especially if you already have a pre-existing bacterial imbalance in your ‘oral microbiome’.
As you might well know, probiotics are tiny bacterial microorganisms that are safe and even healthy for our bodies. Everyone has probiotics living inside them, but many of us could do with a bit more of the good bacteria and a bit less of the bad bacteria. Oral health researchers have only recently realised the full benefits of probiotics in dental applications.
There are three key benefits of taking probiotics for your oral health:
Benefit 1: They help prevent plaque and cavities
Some research has shown that certain types of good bacteria can help fight plaque and cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. Streptoccus mutans turns sugar into lactic acid, and that increased amount of lactic acid is what causes you to develop cavities and tough-to-remove plaque in your teeth. However, taking oral probiotics seems to impart a range of benefits in balancing that process by improving immunity in the mouth. The increased presence of good bacteria prevents bad bacteria from attaching to the teeth, change the pH level of the mouth, produce antibacterial compounds and change saliva quality to fight cavity-causing bacteria.
Benefit 2: They help manage gingivitis and bad breath
If you suffer from bad breath, oral probiotics might be perfect for you! Research has shown that bad breath is generally caused by bacteria either in the gut or in the mouth, which is why your breath is better after you clean your teeth. Taking a probiotic seems to reduce the level of bad bacteria in both the gut and the mouth enough to reduce the severity of bad breath. A chewing gum or mouthwash that includes probiotics can manage the production of volatile sulphur compounds in the mouth, which are also a cause of bad breath. Additionally, probiotics have been shown to help manage the symptoms of gingivitis, a third cause of bad breath.
Benefit 3: They help soothe dental inflammation
Gingivitis is a form of gum disease, which usually means painful and inflamed gums. Probiotics have been shown to help soothe the inflammation of gum disease, too! Some studies have demonstrated that people who suffer from periodontal disease saw their gum health improve after regularly consuming chewable probiotics.
So how can you increase your probiotic intake?
With all those benefits, you’re probably wondering how you can increase your probiotic intake! According to AskTheDentist, there are six oral microbiome strains that do the most work in the mouth:
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus salivarius
- Streptococcus salivarius K12
- Streptococcus salivarius M18
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus sakei
Of course, you can’t just go and pick up some straight bacteria at the supermarket! You can talk to your pharmacist about packaged probiotic supplements that contain these strains, or you can simply eat more of the most probiotic-enriched foods. Fermented foods are your best bet here, including yogurt, soft cheese, miso paste, tempeh, Korean kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and pickles. Delicious!
If you’re concerned about your dental health, come and chat with the friendly staff at Fremantle Dental Care!
Our highly qualified dental surgeon team offers a boutique dental service from our family-owned business. We’re a preferred and accredited practice offering realistic pricing and custom treatment plans for all.