Probiotics in dentistry

Do probiotics help with dental issues?

The answer could be yes!  A new study released in the American Journal of Orthodontics showed a toothpaste reduced the levels of Strep mutans in plaque around the brackets of individuals with braces.  S mutans are believed to be the primary causative bacteria involved in tooth decay.  Although, it’s role in the biofilm may be able to be replaced by other species of bacteria Simon TM 2015. Furthermore, as research continues we continue to find that the biofilm is more complex and includes other bacteria such as S. putigena. Despite that fact studies do show positive results for lozenges 2,  probiotic cheese and yogurt, even ICE CREAM!   Probiotics have proven to reduce gingivitis, likely by reducing inflammation at a biochemical level, and even reverse decay in adults.  Pretty impressive results for something that could be so easily implemented into almost anyone’s daily routine.
This really should not be a surprise since both gum disease and tooth decay have a bacterial origin.  We have long known that certain mouths maintain populations of different types of bacteria and thus have different dental issues.  For instance, some people will never get periodontal disease no matter what they do because their mouth does not support the causative bacteria and the same goes for tooth decay (both processes are caused by different types of bacteria and often people have one or the other but rarely both).  There are studies showing S. mitis, S. oralis, S. sanguinis, and Neisseria species protect against dental decay (Aas 2008, Belda-Ferre 2012, Gross 2012). Strains of Weissella cibaria and K12 strain of S. salivarius will reduce mouth odor and periodontal pathogens (Kang 2006, Kang 2006, Burton 2006, Tagg 2004). If we can artificially recreate a mouth that is inhabited by benign bacteria then it will greatly reduce the amount of dental issues we have.  At this point probiotics are still a bit like the wild west in that one is never sure of the potency they are actually receiving or if they individually are truly benefiting from it. This same problem plagues the people taking probiotics for intestinal issues.  I think as time goes on the probiotics will get better and a more efficient regimen will be developed.

At this point I can’t really recommend any particular brand or protocol.  Many of the above studies are foreign and based on products unavailable to us.  The one product myself and my staff have used and liked is EvoraPlus.  Its ingredient was used in some of the above studies.

Bryan Bauer, DDS, FAGD