Study recommends wider use of probiotics
SUMMARY: Evidence continues to mount suggesting that probiotics may play a large role in oral health. Studies have found that this treatment may prevent the growth of bacteria that has been shown to cause bad breath, gum disease and cavities. Increasing intake of the beneficial microbes may help individuals significantly improve the condition of their mouths.
Posted: November 4, 2010
Evidence continues to mount suggesting that probiotics may play a large role in oral health. Studies have found that this treatment may prevent the growth of bacteria that has been shown to cause bad breath, gum disease and cavities. Increasing intake of the beneficial microbes may help individuals significantly improve the condition of their mouths.
One recent study from Swedish researchers found that the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus may hold many benefits for individuals' oral health. Their findings show that these microbes may combat many of the bacteria that are responsible for some of the worst dental problems.
However, in spite of how effective probiotics can be, researchers also found that a diminishing number of individuals have active levels of these microbes in their systems. Studies conducted in the 1960s found that Lactobacillus occurred in anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the public. However, the current study found the bacteria in only 10 to 20 percent of participants.
Researchers said that this decline may have to do with changing dietary habits. This may leave individuals vulnerable to infection from a range of bacteria, including those that cause bad breath.
"We relate this drop to changes in lifestyle," said Gabriela Sinkiewicz, the Malmo University researchers who led the study. "We don't eat fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, to the same extent as before and use preservatives, which kill bacteria in the food and in the body."
Using probiotics may be an extremely important part of maintaining oral health. They have been shown to engage in a sort of biological warfare in the mouth. The introduction of beneficial living organisms into the oral cavity may fight off other more harmful microbes and prevent them from infecting the mouth.
Given these significant benefits, it may be important for individuals whose diet does not provide them with any probiotics to supplement their regular food consumption with products that contain the microbes. Due to the growth in popularity of probiotics in recent years, there are now far more products to choose from.
For example, some specialty breath freshening products now contain probiotics. In addition to eliminating bad breath, these products may also reduce the risk of other serious oral health problems.