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Probiotics Show Positive Results for Oral Health

Good oral hygiene is important for more than just good breath – previous studies have found that mouth diseases are directly linked to heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. While brushing and flossing regularly can help you keep your mouth in good order, a recent study has found that probiotic supplements may help oral health in general and may slow the development of caries in particular.

Caries is the destruction of bone structure and in the mouth are most commonly known as cavities.

This meta-analysis included 23 randomized clinical trials, four of which were deemed “excellent quality,” nine of which were deemed “good quality,” and 10 of which were considered “poor quality.”

Some of the probiotic strains included in the study were Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis BB-12, B. longum, B. animalis subsp. Lactis DN 173010, Lactobacillus brevis, L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus La-5, L reuteri, and Saccharomyces cereviasae.

After examining the data, the researchers found that two thirds of the selected studies showed that probiotic supplementation reduced the amount of mutans streptococci (MS) in the mouth. MS is the main bacteria associated with tooth decay because it binds to teeth and then converts to sugar, which subsequently eats away the enamel.

The researchers were also interested, however, in how probiotics affected mouth health apart from their effect on MS, as preliminary research suggests that other bacteria may also contribute to the development of cavities.

They found that, while some studies suggest that probiotics may have a positive effect in fighting cavities apart from their affect on MS, there is not enough research at this moment to declare a definitive correlation. They suggest that more research should be conducted in this field to determine the exact effect of probiotics on the development of cavities, due to the fact that the current research is encouraging.

Researchers from the WHO Collaborating Centre of Milan for Epidemiology and Community Dentistry at the University of Milan in Italy conducted the study. It was published on July 5, 2013, in the journal Nutrient.

Beyond oral health, probiotics have been shown to help aid in weight loss, improve digestion, prevent recurring yeast infections, 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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