Medical science has established that good dental hygiene promotes overall health by stabilizing blood sugar and lowering risk for infections and heart disease.
But did you know that new research shows probiotics may also be the go-to weapon to protect your teeth and body from a growing host of health challenges?
A recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, found that taking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus reuteri may offer “significant, additional clinical improvements” compared to root planning and scaling (one invasive method to prevent gum disease from becoming more severe) for patients dealing with chronic periodontitis.
Probiotics Could be Easier Than Standard Dental Treatments
Patients who took a probiotic lozenge twice a day were 53 percent less likely to have deep dental pockets, a common health problem associated with periodontitis, compared to those given a placebo. When teeth succumb to periodontitis, gums pull away from teeth, forming spaces that become infected, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Periodontitis spurs the body’s immune system into action, as plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. The combination of the body’s natural immune response and bacterial toxins start breaking down the connective tissue and bone that keep teeth in place.
If periodontitis isn’t treated, the gums, bones and tissues supporting the teeth are destroyed. This could lead to loose teeth that need to be removed.
More Studies Confirm the Value of Probiotics in Protecting Teeth
Interestingly, this isn’t the only study that has found probiotics protect teeth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry’s The Daily Grind.
- A 2011 study determined a combination of milk containing probiotics and fluoride may reverse primary root caries lesions (PRCL) in patients age 58-84.
- Chewing gum containing the bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri may decrease inflammation, according to a 2009 study.
- Lactobacillus reuteri was also at the heart of a 2006 study as the probiotic bacteria was found to reduce levels of gingivitis and plaque in patients experiencing moderate to severe gingivitis.
Here’s one more healthy reminder about protecting the health of your teeth and body: If you’re using a standard brand of toothpaste, check the label to ensure it doesn’t contain triclosan, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial compound that has been linked to endocrine disruptions, antibiotic-resistant infections and superbugs.
Even as manufacturers have begun phasing out triclosan, the CDC raised new health concerns. A recent report found a 50 percent increase in triclosan levels across all U.S. demographic levels.
All the more reason everyone should take a probiotic.