You may think brushing and flossing are enough. But, if that is all you are doing you are missing out on some huge benefits for not only your oral health but your entire well being. Research has shown that dental probiotics can help you keep your oral hygiene at its best and in turn help you avoid serious health conditions.
It all has to do with your oral microbiome. You may have heard about the many benefits of probiotics for your gut microbiome but, there are beneficial bacteria that needs to be maintained all over your body—especially your mouth.
Some believe the mouth is the gateway to your health. Taking care of your oral microbiome will translate to some pretty surprising and incredible benefits for your whole body.
Probiotics and Dental Health
It’s not just about a dazzling smile. The health of your gums and teeth is about much more, and that is where dental probiotics come in.
Your body is home to millions of bacteria both good and bad. They live and colonize in the gut, on the skin, in the urogenital tract, and in the mouth. The little community of bacteria they form is called the microbiome.
Your oral microbiome is all of the bacteria in your nose, ears, throat, and mouth. The health of the oral microbiome is crucial to the health of the whole body. When the good and bad bacteria in the microbiome are in balance, they are living happily together, and everything is running smoothly.
However, this balance is sensitive and is easily disrupted. Things like sugar or antibiotics will quickly throw things out of whack. Once the harmful bacteria are given just a little power, they will take over and kill off the good bacteria. This causes an imbalance, and the good bacteria can no longer provide the protection and benefits they once did.
Once the harmful bacteria are in control of the oral microbiome, the door has been opened to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and more. It’s not just your oral hygiene that is affected. In fact, a study shows that people who are 65 and younger who have gum disease have a 44 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath are signs that your mouth is overcrowded with harmful bacteria that can wreak havoc and cause a cascade of other symptoms. If a person’s oral microbiome is overrun with bad bacteria, it may even lead to serious health conditions like diabetes, stroke, endocarditis and even pregnancy issues.
Dental probiotics or oral probiotics are live microorganisms. They are good bacteria. Taking an oral probiotic supplement will replenish the good bacteria in the microbiome and will help maintain the balance which will keep your oral hygiene at its very best.
Many different strains of bacteria make up the microbiome. For example, the strains of bacteria that live on the skin are going to be different than those in the mouth or gut. Although, a few strains may be the same.
A few of the best dental probiotics to look for are:
- S. Salivarius (K12 and M18)
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactobacilli brevis
- Lactobacillus salivarius
Top 5 Benefits of Dental Probiotics
The evidence for dental probiotics is promising. Here are just a few of the benefits of dental probiotics.
Prevents Plaque Buildup
One of the ways bacteria wreaks havoc on your oral health is by forming clusters on your teeth known as plaque. The bacteria feed off of sugar and carbohydrates and excrete cavity-causing acids onto your teeth. The buildup of plaque can lead to multiple problems like cavities. Thankfully, dental probiotics can help prevent plaque from forming.
It’s estimated that half of American adults have gum disease. Gingivitis is essentially inflammation that causes your gums to bleed. Gingivitis is also the first sign of gum disease. If gingivitis is not treated it can lead to gum disease which can cause bone and tooth loss. Dental probiotics can help treat gingivitis as well as prevent and maybe even reverse gum disease.
Combats Candida Overgrowth
Your mouth is the natural home to certain fungi called candida. When your oral microbiome is out of balance, this fungi can start to take over and become a problem. Candida overgrowth can lead to oral thrush. Changing your diet by leaving out sugars and carbs that candida feed on and taking probiotics for dental health will help prevent and treat oral thrush.
Fights Bad Breath
Bad breath can actually be caused by your oral microbiome being out of balance. If you have chronic bad breath, mints and mouthwash are only masking the real problem—not treating it. Anti-bacterial mouthwash can even contribute to the problem by killing the good bacteria that you need. However, dental probiotics will help treat what is really causing your bad breath. It may even work better than mouthwash at providing fresh breath.
Reduces the Risk of Serious Illness
Research has shown that oral pathogens have been linked to serious health illnesses such as certain cancers and heart disease. Research has also found that many people who have Alzheimer’s disease also suffer from gum disease. This may be due to the inflammation that runs rampant in both diseases. Treating gum disease may help prevent further cognitive decline in these patients. Probiotics may help with this process.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Maintaining your oral microbiome could be one of the best things you can do for your health. A few ways to do this is by making sure you brush and floss regularly, avoid anti-bacterial products and antibiotics when possible, and add a dental probiotic to your daily supplements.
It’s best to take oral probiotics after you have brushed your teeth so they have time to settle in before being rinsed away. It may also help to take them before bed so they can work all night without the interference of food or drink.
Probiotics and dental health go hand in hand. For a healthy mouth and ultimately a healthy body, ask your dentist about dental probiotics.