Developments in the Use of Probiotics in Dentistry

***UPDATED: August 28, 2013*** A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology has found that using a probiotic supplement, in the form of a lozenge, significantly improves conditions for those who suffer from chronic periodontitis.  30 subjects participated in the study.  Each individual received one-stage full mouth disinfection and scaling and root planning to treat their chronic periodontitis, and then were randomly given the probiotic lozenge or a placebo, twice a day for three months.  Both groups showed reduction in all clinical parameters, but the subjects who used the probiotic lozenge had marked reduction in pocket depth and greater P. gingivalis reduction.  Statistically, the probiotic, as an adjunct to standard treatment was found to significantly improve efficacy by 53%.

Back in 2010, the International Probiotics Association’s (IPA) World Congress was held in Miami, Florida, where Berlin-based speaker Dr. Christine Lang discussed  the benefits of probiotics for oral health.  Since then, research has been conducted around the globe to find a way to share the benefits of the bacteria with the masses.  Many are attempting to create toothpastes, mouthwashes, gum, and mints that would halp reduce cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis, as well as eliminate halitosis, or bad breath.  For the basics on how probiotics work, check out Miami Dental Sedation Spa’s blog post, Probiotics and Dentistry, written by Dr. Luis Sanchez.

One of the most commonly used probiotics in dentistry is the BLIS K12, a specific strain of Streptococcus salivarius that was developed by scientists at New Zealand’s University of Otago.  It has a great reputation for supporting healthy bacteria in the mouth, creating long-term fresh breath and immune support.  It has recently been shown to inhibit the growth of yeast responsible for oral thrush.  The main bacteria linked to tooth decay is Streptococcus mutans, which binds to teeth forming dental plaque.  Research conducted by Dr. Lang and her team has found six Lactobacillus strains that bind to S. mutans, inhibiting the destructive nature of the bacteria.  It is said to be tasteless, odorless, and pH-neutral and can be easily added to a multitude of oral products.  Other studies, being conducted around the world have found similar results with other strains of probiotics suggesting that it’s only a matter of time before some of these products are made available to the public.

For further information, check out Dr. Sanchez on Telemundo, discussing the importance of probiotics in dentistry.

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