What Are Probiotics?
The word probiotics is derived from a Greek word. ‘Pro’ means promoting, and ‘biotic’ means life. Probiotics are live organisms that are used for certain health benefits. These live organisms are good bacteria. Although they are now available in different forms, probiotics are naturally found in yeasts, yogurt and other fermented foods and beverages.
Can Oral Probiotics Help Your Mouth and Teeth?
Probiotics have become quite popular because of their ability to improve the digestive health. But in the recent years, probiotics have also been found to improve dental health and hygiene naturally by fighting the process of plaque building.
Probiotics work by increasing the number of good bacteria compared to bad bacteria in your mouth. The more good bacteria there are in your mouth, the less space there will be for bad bacteria to grow and damage your teeth. This slows down the process of plaque building.
How do Probiotics Help Your Mouth and Teeth?
As discussed above, probiotics can cause good bacteria to grow in your mouth leaving lesser room for bad bacteria, but do you know how exactly probiotics help your teeth and mouth. Here are some ways in which these can help your teeth and prevent the tooth decay process and rotten teeth.
Probiotics support gum and tooth health
Since there are lesser bad bacteria to grow in your teeth and gums, probiotics can help to keep your teeth healthy and mouth fresh.
Better breath and smell
Stinky bad breath is caused by bad bacteria that live in your mouth. Since probiotics don’t allow too many bad bacteria to stay there, bad breath goes away.
Whitening of the teeth
Over time, probiotics whiten your teeth. They do not even cause any sensitivity or gum problems as they are natural.
One important function of probiotics is to maintain overall health of the digestive tract.
It is very important to keep a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system so that it can keep your body in good condition by removing waste products, toxins and harmful bacteria out of the body. Good bacteria help keep your digestive system in proper balance and help it perform its functions better.
Can probiotics help with tooth decay (dental cavity)?
The use of probiotics in the fight against tooth decay and dental cavities (dental caries) is a promising area of research. Tooth decay occurs due to the presence of bad bacteria in the mouth and overcrowding of bad bacteria.
Streptococcus mutans, particularly, is a bacteria that destroys the teeth and is able to easily attach to the teeth. These bacteria secrete acids that destroy tooth enamel. Researchers have demonstrated that good bacteria introduced in the mouth through probiotics can reduce the number of Streptococcus mutans and the probability of developing dental cavities.
Probiotics are suited to use as a therapy for other dental conditions also and for overall dental health. Some other conditions where they can be helpful are halitosis or bad breath, gum tissue (periodontal disease), gingivitis, etc.
Research is going on to understand the relationship between various dental problems and probiotics better. More studies are needed to test effects of probiotics on individual bacteria to get a clearer idea of their health benefits.