When we think of probiotics, we typically think of how they can aid in keeping the stomach healthy. But at our dental office in Columbia, we became aware of how some probiotics can assist oral health, too. Let’s take a closer look at the research that supports the idea that probiotics can help keep mouths healthy.
What Are Probiotics?
Before we dive into learning how probiotics may be beneficial to oral health, we should first identify what probiotics are. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that have historically been noted as being good for gut health. Even though we usually associate bacteria with being bad, there are both good and bad types of bacteria. Probiotics are the good guys.
Not All Probiotics Are the Same
The type of probiotics that are most commonly discussed are ones often found in certain types yogurt and various foods. These probiotics are meant to help the digestive system and can help the body replace beneficial bacteria that the body loses after taking antibiotics. But the probiotics researched in relation to oral health are different.
Oral probiotics, which doesn’t have anything to do with how you ingest them but rather describes the area of the body they help, have been researched to see if they have impact on oral health. Several studies support a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.
Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus
While difficult to say, the benefits of these two probiotic strains are easy to explain. Both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are naturally found in the human body and, more specifically, in the mouths of mammals. Several studies have identified a possible positive effect of these probiotics. While not absolutely conclusive, there is strong evidence that an increase of both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can help the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and may even reduce the risk of cavities.
Since this research is still in the early stages and no concrete claims have been made, we don’t recommend starting yourself on a probiotics before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Columbia.
If you have questions regarding your oral health, whether those questions include probiotics or not, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Columbia dental office.
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