Ask a Dentist

June 25, 2021

Q: Could probiotics prevent or treat oral health infections?

Person holding a probiotic in their left hand.

Not all bacteria are bad for you. Did you know that probiotic bacteria can help fight off “bad bacteria”? Probiotics are added to foods, such as yogurt and fermented milk to boost the healthy bacteria in your body.

At Dental Image Therapy Centres, we want our Winnipeg patients to have a confident, healthy smile. But it’s not just about the mouth, the health of your body greatly affects your oral health. While probiotics are often associated with the health of your digestive system, early research suggests that probiotics could be beneficial for improving your oral health too. But, more long-term clinical trials and follow-ups are needed to determine if they have any effect on preventing and treating oral diseases.

A study in the European Journal of Dentistry believed that it is important to understand the effects of probiotic bacteria in the oral cavity as there’s a chance it could benefit your oral health.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living microorganisms in food or supplements that play a crucial role in keeping your body’s immune system, digestive system and respiratory functions strong and healthy. 

What foods have probiotics? Foods with probiotics tend to include dairy sources such as yogurt, kefir, cultured cottage cheese and buttermilk, and non-dairy sources like fermented vegetables (sauerkraut) and kombucha (a fermented tea). There’s a good chance that you may be eating probiotic foods regularly without knowing it.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of Probiotics For Oral Health?

Though probiotics are recognized as being good for gut health, these microorganisms could also be beneficial for oral health. Studies are considering probiotics to be an effective and natural way of fighting gum disease, plaque, bad breath and maybe even cancer. 

This study in the Medicina Oral, Patología Oral y Cirugía Bucal showed probiotics might reduce infection-producing microbes, which are bacteria that can cause disease. Adding more probiotic-rich foods into your diet may stop, slow or delay the infection process that leads to oral disease.

When probiotics are incorporated into dairy products, they can neutralize acidic conditions in the mouth and prevent decay on the tooth surface. 

Research has also shown that patients with periodontal disease who used probiotic supplements such as chewing gum or lozenges saw their periodontal status improve. Researchers found that probiotics in gargling solutions or chewing gum improved bad breath.

Though the effects of probiotics on oral health are not fully understood, there’s no need to restrict yourself from using probiotics in your diet to improve your overall health. We are excited to see where further research on this topic will take us and what that means for oral health in the future.

If you are considering taking dietary supplements, and want to know how they’ll impact your oral health, book a consultation with us at Dental Image Therapy Centres. We are located at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

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