Probiotics and Oral Health

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In recent years, you may have heard of something called probiotics in the news and on television commercials. These microorganisms are credited with a multitude of health benefits, including digestive benefits that are promoted in some products such as yogurts. But did you know that probiotics can also help your oral health?

Probiotics can help the mouth by improving the condition of the oral biofilm composition, making it easier for good bacteria to thrive and do its job at keeping the mouth healthy. This is especially important as we age, since the older we get the more we are at risk for serious oral health conditions like periodontal disease, a condition in which the gums become infected with bad bacteria. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect the gums, either. It can cause bone and tissue loss in the mouth, and can contribute to cancers, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure and even stroke.

The good news is that by taking oral probiotics, the oral biofilm can be improved, making the teeth and gums healthier. Oral probiotics can also reduce your risk of oral cancer, freshen your breath, prevent plaque from forming on your teeth and even decrease inflammation.

So, how do you get probiotics, and how do you add them to your diet? Thankfully there are a lot of foods that have naturally occurring probiotics. These foods include cultured cottage cheese, yogurt, Kefir, buttermilk, cheese, sauerkraut and kombucha. Foods known as prebiotics offer benefits for digestive health. Prebiotics include foods such as raw oats, barley, wheat, artichokes and some roots such as hickory root.

In addition to eating a diet rich in probiotics, you can also opt to take a probiotic supplement each day. Look for a supplement that contains the probiotic Lactobacillus brevis. This probiotic has benefits such as reducing inflammation in the body, which can help reduce your risk of many illnesses and keep your gums healthy. Probiotic supplements come in pill form and liquid form.

If you’re interested in learning more about probiotics, speak to your primary care doctor or to Dr. Garcia about which probiotics may be right for you. Dr. Garcia can be reached at (305) 595-4616.