Probiotics and Gum Disease

Alternative to antibiotics – Probiotics

Researchers have become more interested in using an alternative to combat dental and other diseases  in the last few decades.  The paradigm shift is to not  treat specific bacteria elimination but to alter bacteria ecology using probiotics.  Probiotics are economical and a natural way to combat periodontal disease.   By including probiotic foods to halt or delay the pathogenesis of gum diseases can promote a healthy lifestyle to fight periodontal infections. 

Dental home care routines still involve plaque removal and a consciencious effort on the patients part.  There is great potential to help alter the anerobic bacteria colonization that will enable patients to improve pocket depth and help in halitosis (bad breath) management.

What are Probiotics

According to the World Health Organization, probiotics are "live microorganisms which confer a health benefit on the host".  Our gastrointestinal tract normally contains many different types of bacteria, yeast and viruses, collectively known as our "gut flora."  The theory behind probiotics is that certain illnesses or medications can knock that flora out of balance – which causes all kinds of other problems – and probiotics help restore it.   

Probiotics exist naturally in foods such as yogurts, cultured milks (buttermilk, kefir) and fermented foods such as fresh sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso.  They also can be found in certain nutritional supplements, and are added to many commercial foods.

How are these Probiotics used to treat Gum Disease?

There are two ways to use these probiotics to treat gum disease.  One way is to use a chewable probiotic tablet 2 – 3 times a day.  Chew the tablet, allow it to mix with your saliva, swish around the mouth and swallow.  The second is to use a probiotic toothpaste.  Brush with the paste for 2 minutes or more than swallow.  Now that probiotic is again working  in the gut as well as the mouth. 





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