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Probiotics May Fight, Treat Gum Disease

Researchers from the Department of Periodontics at the College of Dental Sciences in Karnataka, India recently found that lozenges containing probiotics may help treat periodontitis. Their findings were published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of Oral Microbiology.

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a very common chronic inflammatory disease that creates an infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth. This infection can result in bad breath, bleeding gums and loss of teeth.

30 participants with chronic periodontitis were recruited for the study. All of the participants were given the standard treatment for periodontitis called scaling and root planing (SRP) in half of their mouth. The other half of their mouth was left untreated.

After three weeks, the participants were randomly assigned to receive either lozenges containing probiotics or placebo lozenges twice a day for 21 days.

The researchers found that the combination of SRP and the probiotic lozenges was most effective for reducing the severity of periodontitis. The combination was also most effective for reducing gingivitis and plaque.

Probiotic supplements, both alone and in combination with SRP, also reduced levels of pathogenic bacteria by up to 90% compared to other treatments.

Beyond oral health, probiotics have been shown to help aid in weight loss, improve digestion, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

You can get more probiotics by eating certain foods such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. For many people, taking a high quality supplement is an easier approach. If you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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