New Probiotics for Healthier Teeth & Gums
Most probiotics aid in digestion to help keep our gut well, learn how new dental probiotics can go work to improve your oral health.
There are billions of bacteria in our mouths that reproduce approximately every five hours. The average adult mouth may contain 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria with 100 to 200 species living in there at any given time. Those who care for their teeth and have a relatively clean mouth still have 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria living on each tooth surface.
The bad bacteria in our mouths can cause dental disease such as bad breath, cavities, gum disease, bone loss, and tooth loss. Some types of bacteria are more resistant than others and are subject to our bodys host response and genetic variables. One thing all bacteria have in common is the ability to repopulate! If we go 24 hours without brushing, the bacteria in our mouths can grow from 20 billion to 100 billion!
Oral probiotics are more than just probiotics that are taken by mouth. Oral probiotics are designed to work in the mouth to alter the oral bacteria count to be healthier. You may wonder where the healthy bacteria come from; it turns out they are naturally occurring and are taken from healthy mouths and the area in the back of the throat. Good bacteria are freeze-dried and made ready to be rehydrated by a patients saliva. In the patients mouth, the rehydrated bacteria crowd out and replace the bad bacteria. The good bacteria in an oral probiotic are dose dependent against the bad bacteria they target. We know probiotics work, weve been using them for gut health for decades and in multiple forms such as yogurt. Probiotic bacteria have been a part of life, passed down from mothers milk since birth. Without them we would not survive; the word probiotic means in favor of life.
Good bacteria in our mouths promote tissue health and crowd out acid producing strains of bacteria that cause dental decay. A few positive results of replacing bad bacteria are:
¢ Reduced plaque, the sticky film that forms on our teeth
¢ Reduced bleeding gums
¢ Reduced proteins that adjust inflammatory responses
These simple changes enhance and protects the investment we have made in our dental treatments extending the benefits of those treatments we receive in the office between visits and improving outcomes.
How can xylitol help? It has been demonstrated that 100% xylitol sweetened products enhance the role of oral probiotics by inhibiting bad bacteria that produce acid in the mouth. The primary bacteria responsible for cavities cannot metabolize xylitol; therefore, without a nutrition source the bad bacteria die off. By reducing the count of bad bacteria preceding use of oral probiotics xylitol can enable oral probiotics to repopulate the mouth with good bacteria more quickly.
Oral probiotics used with xylitol are beneficial after gum treatments and dental preventive visits (cleanings). Xylitol used with oral probiotics also benefit individuals with dental implants, smokers and those that use a CPAP for sleep apnea. There are no age restrictions to the use of xylitol and oral probiotics, benefiting teens, boomers and even people with an already healthy bacterial environment in their mouth! Oral probiotics are of great benefit when used at bedtime by increasing salivary flow which utilizes the resting time of the mouth (without feeding the bacteria) and increases time spent in remineralizing tooth enamel. Also, 100% xylitol products are best used morning, night and after every meal. Strive for Five exposures a day to maximize the dental benefits!
A single daily dose of oral probiotics has been found to be just as successful in eliminating bad bacteria as twice a day, making it very cost effective.2 Positive changes have been noted in gum health as well as overall health in just the first 28 days of use.3
Together, 100% xylitol sweetened products and oral probiotics are convenient, affordable, safe and natural. They are great tasting, no side effects and can be used by pregnant and lactating mothers. Both are made from non GMO sources and are soy, wheat, gluten and sugar free. When the recommended daily exposures to xylitol are exceeded, it can produce some digestive side effects in some individuals. As with anything else, too much of a good thing is not necessarily good for us. Oral probiotics that are targeted for promoting tissue and bone health in the mouth and 100% xylitol products are available from your oral care provider and 100% xylitol products are also available in many health food stores. Ask for them! Oral probiotics and 100% xylitol products used together provide maximum benefit!
Restoring and maintaining a bacterial balance in the oral cavity will be a lifelong struggle. Eliminating oral infections with the use of oral probiotics and 100% xylitol sweetened products moves us toward a state of dental health as well as whole body health.
Kris Potts, RDH, BS has been a Dental Hygienist for 35 years. She is employed by Wasatch Sales Force where she represents the Xlear/Spry Xylitol product line. In this position, Kris travels the South Central US encouraging informed choices to improve health by delivering information to a cross section of medical and dental offices in 10 states and dental topics to consumer, advocacy, support and special interest groups. Mrs. Potts is an active member of the American Dental Hygienists Association, an accredited Provider with the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. The Immediate Past President of the Texas Dental Hygienists Association, she owns Kris Potts, RDH, LLC, offering educational speaking, writing, and consulting services for dental professionals.
1 M.R. Vivekananda, K.L. Vandana, and K.G. Bhat. (2010). Effect of the Probiotic Lactobacilli Reuteri (Prodentis) In the Management of Periodontal Disease: A Preliminary Randomized Clinical Trial, J Oral Microbiol. 2010; 2: 10.3402/jom.v2i0.5344, doi: 10.3402/jom.v2i0.5344.
2 Twetman S. (2009). Short-Term Effect of Chewing Gums Containing Probiotic Lactobacillus Reuteri On The Levels Of Inflammatory Mediators In Gingival Crevicular Fluid, Acta Odontol Scand., 67: 19-24.
3Krasse P, Carlsson B, Dahl C, Paulsson A, Nilsson A, Sinkiewicz G. (2006). Decreased Gum Bleeding and Reduced Gingivitis by the Probiotic Lactobacillus Reuteri, MalmÃ¶ University, Dept. Biomedical Lab Sciences, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org , Swedish Dental Journal 2006; 30(2):55-60, PMID:16878680.
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