- Probiotics also referred
to as "good bacteria" when consumed in sufficient quantities have beneficial
effects on human health and are also safe.
- The two most
researched and well-known probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus and
- Probiotics embark a new area of research in
oral medicine, and clinical investigations have shown positive results, but
still more research has to be done in this field.
are living microorganisms, or as food ingredients consisting of living microbes
that are believed to provide essential health benefits when consumed.
Probiotics are considered as friendly bacteria, because probiotic
are capable of suppressing oral diseases such as dental plaque,
periodontal disease and bad breath.
Probiotic concept was
introduced by Nobel recipient Élie Metchnikoff, who proposed that
yogurt-consuming Bulgarian peasants enjoyed a good longevity due to this habit.
In 1907 he suggested that the dependence of intestinal microbes on the food
increases the possibility to alter the normal flora in the human body and to
replace the damaging microbes by the helpful microbes.
‘Probiotics are good bacteria and when consumed in sufficient quantities may improve oral health by reducing oral infections.’
Initially, probiotics were associated with only gastrointestinal
and the clinical investigations were mainly focused on the
prevention and treatment of infections and diseases related to the gut. But
recently many investigators have proposed probiotics for oral health also.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that probiotics may decrease the occurrence
of dental caries in children.
For a microorganism to be oral
probiotic, it should adhere and colonize teeth surfaces in the oral cavity.
Generally, probiotics are strain specific, and the commonly used strains belong
to the genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus; these genera are a part of the
normal human microbiota and are usually found in the oral cavity and in dental
Lactobacillus rhamnosus generates a growth
inhibitory substance against Streptococcus sobrinus, which reduces the
possibility of dental caries
. Streptococcus salivarius
strains are good oral probiotic, as they are early colonizers of mucosal
surfaces and are predominantly found on the tongue surface of healthy
Other oral probiotics strains include L. reuteri,
L.johnsonii, L. casei,
, and W. cibaria.
Species mainly found in the saliva samples include L. paracasei, L.
plantarum, L. rhamnosus,
and L. salivarius.
Some culture based studies
indicate that bifidobacteria are one of the first anaerobes in the mouth.
Bifidobacterial species separated from the oral samples comprise B. longum, B. dentium and B. bifidum. Both
and bifidobacteria are safe and present in breast milk; thus exposing the oral
cavity to these bacteria early in the life.
of Probiotics in Oral Cavity
and Dental Caries -
- It plays an important role in
binding of oral micro-organisms to proteins (biofilm formation).
in substrate metabolism
- Inhibiting plaque formation by
intervening with bacterial attachments.
- Production of
chemicals that hampers
formation of oral bacteria
- Controlling mucosal permeability
on local immune system
- Regulating systemic immune function
of antimicrobial substances in-response to oral pathogens
In dental caries, both
acidogenic and non-acidogenic bacteria increase in number. Probiotic bacteria
and genetics can dislodge cariogenic bacteria with non-cariogenic bacteria.
Only two probiotic bacterial strains like Streptococcus
and Lactococcus lactis
can prevent dental caries; they can adhere to hydroxyapatite and then enter
into biofilm which is similar to dental plaque. These bacteria also possess the
capability to bind with microorganisms found in plaque.
Probiotic dairy products
neutralize acidic conditions in
the mouth and inhibit cariogenic
in Periodontal Disease
Probiotics were first used for improving oral
health by reducing periodontal inflammation. People with many periodontal
diseases such as periodontitis
, gingivitis and pregnancy gingivitis showed positive results after being treated with L. acidophilus
strain. The probiotic strains used for this purpose
include L. salivarius
(CD2), L. reuteri
strains and Bacillus subtilis.
It is observed that
orally administered probiotics can benefit chronic periodontitis. Mucosal
immune responses can be enhanced by probiotic immunization.
patients who used chewing gums or lozenges having probiotics noted an
improvement in their periodontal disease.
Probiotics and Halitosis
Halitosis (bad breath) is due to the formation of unstable sulphur
compounds produced by the anaerobic bacteria which degrade the salivary food
salivarius generates a
specific by-product called as bacteriocins which reduce the overall quantity of
unstable sulphide producing species.
Oral probiotic lactobacilli improved halitosis
and also showed positive effects on gum bleeding
Gargling solutions containing probiotics retard
the production of volatile sulphur compounds that facilitate bad breath
and Orthodontic Treatment
can be affected by fixed orthodontic
appliances, as they can cause accumulation of microorganisms resulting in
growth of Streptococcus mutans and demineralization of enamel. A clinical study
conducted in 2009 by Cildir et al. with probiotics using Bifidobacterium
animalis subsp, Lactis
DN-173010 showed that this study reduced S. mutans in individuals using fixed
and Oral Candidiasis
Scientists noted that there is a reduction in
the prevalence of Candida albicans
in elderly people after consumption of probiotic cheese comprising of L.
rhamnosus GG and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp.
A new research from Japan's Teikyo University
Institute of Medical Mycology has proposed that an oral probiotic Streptococcus
salivarius K12 suppresses the growth and colonization of Candida species.
- Probiotics and Oral Health
- Probiotics and Oral Health: A Review
- Oral Probiotic Stops Yeast Infections