Probiotics in Dentistry
Probiotics are live micro-organisms which provide a health benefit to us. The word pro-biotic literally means “for life.” Probiotics are friendly, health-promoting bacteria that live virtually everywhere. They live in our soil, air, water and food. They even live in and on us, “colonizing” in various parts of the body including the mouth and intestinal tract. Restoring and keeping a healthy balance of friendly probiotic bacteria supports our natural immunity and resistance to disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria.
There are many kinds of probiotics, each with their own specific place of origin and job to do. Many people are aware of the beneficial effects of probiotics to our digestive system when we eat them in live-culture yoghurt. Probiotic supplements like Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus have been growing in popularity for promoting gut and digestive health. Oral probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in a healthy mouth.
ORAL PROBIOTICS are different bacteria from probiotics for the digestive tract. They prevent the overgrowth of unfriendly oral bacteria and act as our first line of defense against infections that enter through the mouth. Various factors, including the use of antibiotics and medicated mouthwash can reduce or destroy important oral probiotics. Restoring oral probiotics has been shown to not only control the bacteria that cause dental disease, but also those which frequently cause strep throat, earache, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections and halitosis (bad breath).
The goal of most dental home care is to eliminate disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria, and beneficial bacteria may also be inadvertently eliminated during home care. Please ask us how best to incorporate oral probiotics into your oral healthcare routine.