5 Ways Probiotics Can Keep Your Mouth Healthy
When it comes to our mouths, it’s not just about how white or straight our teeth are, keeping it healthy is of far greater importance. In fact our oral health is crucial to our general well-being.
With our mouths being the gateway to our immune system, it makes sense that we need to maintain a healthy balance of good microbes (probiotics) and bad bacteria. Although it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever fully eliminate all the bad guys, the good news is that we can keep them under control.
But how do we do that?
Probiotics are known to reduce bad bacteria in other places of the body, such as the digestive tract and now increasing research shows that taking probiotics on a regular basis may also help keep our mouths healthier too. Here are 5 ways in which research suggests they can help.
- Helps prevent plaque
Plaque is the sticky film that builds up on our teeth when we eat or drink. It also contains millions of bacteria. If not removed it’s likely to harden and irritate the gums. It can also cause yellowing or staining of the teeth and will speed up gum disease. Oral probiotics have been shown to produce an enzyme which helps to dissolve and loosen the plaque, meaning less formation on the teeth, and the greater likelihood of healthier teeth and gums.
- Prevent bad breath
Having bad breath is both unpleasant and embarrassing. Although further research needs to be done on how probiotics actually fight bad breath, links have been found to show that taking daily probiotic supplements produces a protein that stops the growth of the foul smelling bacteria that causes bad breath. In fact, one study found that 85% of people who regularly took a probiotic, had a large reduction in the amount of bacteria that causes the problem.
- Prevent oral cancer
Back in 2013 a study in rats showed that the introduction of increased levels of Lactobacillus salivarius (a natural probiotic found in the body) produced a reduction of cancer. Although a lot more studies need to be done in order to confirm this benefit in humans, it found that regular intakes of oral probiotics had the ability to suppress levels of carcinogens found in certain types of cancer, particularly cancer of the mouth.
- Help manage gum disease symptoms
With gum disease being the largest cause of tooth loss it’s interesting to note the link between probiotics and gingivitis. Studies show there’s a clear improvement in gingivitis symptoms, such as swollen and tender gums when probiotics are regularly taken.
- Fights tooth decay
Oral probiotics have been shown to fight harmful bacteria associated with tooth decay. One way is by neutralising the amount of streptococcus mutans (a bacterial anaerobe found commonly in the mouth). It does this by producing antimicrobials and enzymes which kill them. Again, research is still in its early stages, but the signs are proving promising.
The use of introducing good bacteria has been known about for years and nowadays you can buy anything from probiotic yogurt and milk to probiotic supplements to help maintain balance and harmony in the gut. However the thought that introducing good bacteria to prevent a wide range of oral problems is only now being investigated, but as you can see from above, early results show promise.
With issues from bad breath to tooth decay all starting with bacterial imbalances in our mouths, it makes sense that a daily intake of probiotics is worth it to help fight the bad guys and maintain a good oral systemic balance.