Probiotics benefit overall health and well-being. Contrary to popular belief, humans ingest a large number of these living microorganisms on a daily basis, as they are found naturally in our food and water.
Although most view probiotics as a means to improving overall health, we’ve seen in recent years that regularly consuming probiotics actually lowers one’s risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living microbes that beneficially influence the health of their host when used in appropriate amounts. These benefits go beyond basic nutrition to improve or restore one’s gut flora (gastrointestinal microbiota that live in the digestive tracts of humans).
Often referred to as “the forgotten organ”, gut flora performs many functions that are vital to overall health. It develops essential vitamins, including Vitamin K and several B vitamins. Gut flora is extremely dependent upon diet, and studies have shown that unbalanced gut flora is linked to numerous diseases including heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, colorectal cancer, metabolic syndrome and obesity. Probiotics work to correct these imbalances, ensuring that the “forgotten organ” is fully functioning and working correctly.
Probiotics & Oral Health
Probiotics are proving to be beneficial for oral health due to their ability to counteract the antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in the mouth. Probiotics have the potential to aid in the prevention and treatment of oral infections, dental caries, gingivitis, periodontal disease, pharyngitis (sore throat), tonsillitis, and oral candidiasis (yeast infection).
Here are a few of the more common benefits of probiotics:
- Probiotics incorporated into dairy products can neutralize acidic conditions in the mouth and inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
- Patients with periodontal disease who use chewing gum or lozenges containing probiotics can improve their periodontal status.
- Probiotics in mouthrinses or gum inhibit the production of volatile sulfur compounds that contribute to bad breath.
Essentially, probiotics are able to address the causes of some of the most common oral health issues: pathogens. A study in the Journal of Oral Microbiology describes how probiotics prevent pathogens from binding to your body’s tissues and keep good bacteria that boost the immune system.
Probiotics can also stop or stunt the growth of pathogens by producing agents that make it difficult for them to thrive. The Journal of Indian Society Periodontology has a study that shows how probiotics reduce inflammation and stimulate bone formation, which helps repair bone loss as a result of accelerated gum disease.
Which foods contain probiotics?
There are many natural ways to increase and strengthen the friendly bacteria in the body. The use of probiotics for oral health is one of the exciting discoveries that shows the association between food and disease prevention.
Dairy sources of probiotic foods include:
- Cultured cottage cheese
Non-dairy sources include:
- Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut
- Fermented tea called kombucha
In addition to consuming probiotics in food, one can also supplement the diet with dentist-approved products such as these PRO-Dental and PRO-15 Advanced Strength formulas from Hyperbiotics.
PRO-Dental helps to reduce the buildup of sticky plaque deposits in the mouth, which can lead to more serious health problems down the road. The good bacteria strains found in this supplement works to crowd out bad bacteria, helping to target the culprit of unhealthy gums.
Including probiotic foods in the diet will dramatically increase the chances of stopping or slowing infections that can result in oral disease. It is important to eat a healthy diet that includes probiotic foods. Of course, practicing proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush, is also critical for sustaining optimum oral health.
For more information about introducing probiotics into the diet, improving oral health or learning how Dental Arts can achieve excellent dental results, please contact us. We’re always here to help!
Dental Arts is a full-service general dentistry and orthodontic practice for the entire family. For more than three decades, we have been providing the highest quality dental and orthodontic care available to the residents of New Orleans. Explore the Dental Arts difference today.