Long known for other health benefits, probiotics can also help heal gum disease.
Nutritionists have used probiotics to help with gastric issues and inflammation for 100 years. Now, researchers are finding that they can also help fight tooth decay and even encourage healing of damage caused by gum disease. New probiotic products are coming to market such as probiotic lozenges and gum, to help patients heal after gum surgery, prevent tooth decay, reduce pocket depth, improve attachment, reduce plaque and even improve symptoms of halitosis.
Research on Probiotics for Gum Disease
Researchers are learning that altering the microenvironment of the mouth can have positive health benefits. Probiotics are proving effective in many ways for many oral health conditions. Researchers propose many theories as to why that may be:
- Probiotics fight decay-causing bacteria. The organisms engage in a turf battle of sorts, with healthy bacteria displacing harmful ones.
- Probiotics stimulate antigen-presenting cells, altering the immune response and reducing inflammation caused by pathogens.
- Interactions of certain species of probiotics alter properties of the salivary film that forms on teeth, making it harder for bacteria to adhere to teeth.
- Some probiotics give off hydrogen peroxide, a substance that is especially damaging to oral bacteria.
- Probiotics stimulate the natural death of tumor cells while inhibiting the death of mucosal cells.
- Ingesting probiotics may decrease pro inflammatory cytokines.
- The bacteria Streptococcus oralis and Streptococcus uberis appear to inhibit pathogens. When these beneficial bacteria are not present in the mouth, periodontal disease becomes more likely to occur. Lactic acid may have a similar inhibiting effect.
Studies on Probiotics for Periodontal Disease
Several studies have shown the usefulness of probiotics in periodontal treatment. Probiotic chewing gum has been shown to help patients undergoing scaling and root planing. A study of mouth rinse containing Weissella cibaria CMS1, used three times daily, showed a 20 percent reduction in plaque scores. Use of various probiotics have shown improved clinical symptoms of gingivitis. Another study showed Lactobacillus helveticus helped to repair bone damaged by periodontal disease.
Natural sources for probiotics
Dairy foods are the most commonly consumed probiotic foods, including foods like cheese, yogurt and kefir, but other options abound. Fermented vegetable dishes such as Sauerruben and sauerkraut, the fermented tea kombucha, other forms of kefir, gingerbeer and sour pickles are good examples of probiotic foods. Explore these food choices as methods for introducing probiotics into your diet to promote healthier teeth and gums.
Schedule a Checkup with Dr. LaBell
Routine checkups are your best defense against gum disease. The caring professionals at LaBell Dentistry are ready to schedule your next cleaning and oral screening. Remember, a healthier mouth is a major factor in a healthy body. Call us at 425.402.1246 or use our online contact form to set up your next routine dental visit.