Taking probiotics for teeth and gum health might sound somewhat surprising, but it turns out that the supplements may help you maintain a healthy mouth. In fact, regularly consuming probiotics may lower your risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems.
Are you or any of your colleagues curious to learn more about the benefits of introducing probiotics to your diet? Here’s what you need to know about how the healthy microorganisms can boost your oral health and support a healthy mouth!
Research Supports the Benefits of Probiotics
Numerous research studies have sought to examine the effects of probiotics on oral (and overall) health. One such study, published in Current Oral Health Reports, found that probiotics appear to help manage gum disease and cavities by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the mouth, which isn’t always achieved by traditional dental treatments.
Another 2017 study also found that probiotics may improve oral health because of their ability to reduce oral pathogens (bacteria that can cause disease) but researchers concluded that more investigation is still needed in this area.
What Probiotic Strains Are Best for Oral Health?
Although more research is required around probiotics for teeth and gum health, a few strains have been found to prevent oral issues and improve the health of your mouth. According to the first study mentioned above, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus probiotic strains may serve to reduce plaque, which is a main cause of cavities and gum disease.
A 2010 study published in the European Journal of Dentistry found that oral lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium may help to prevent cavities and combat gum disease. Additionally, Streptococcus salivarius may help alleviate bad breath.
It’s important to note that many probiotic supplements provide more than one strain of bacteria, which is beneficial when you’re trying to maximize oral and overall health.
Which Dosage Should I Take?
There isn’t an established dosage recommendation for probiotic supplements, but several guidelines do exist. ConsumerLab.com, an independent research and test result provider, says probiotics supplements should contain at least 1 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving. Typical dosages for Lactobacillus and other strains are 1 billion to 10 billion CFUs daily for adults—so you should be covered!
Food (and Supplement) Sources
To ensure you’re getting the proper daily dose of probiotics needed to maximize oral health, consider taking probiotic supplements or eating probiotic-rich foods most (if not all) days of the week. Probiotic supplements come in the form of tablets, capsules, loose powder or gummies, and are available in shelf-stable or refrigerated forms. For best results, choose probiotic supplements containing more than one strain.
Examples of foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, aged cheeses, kimchi, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut and cultured non-dairy yogurts.
You might also want to look into prebiotics, which are food components that promote probiotic growth in your gut, potentially improve calcium absorption and enhance gastrointestinal health. Prebiotics are often found in supplement form, or in foods such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables and legumes.
Improving Oral Health
Regularly consuming probiotics for teeth and gum health can benefit anyone, but practicing good dental hygiene is just as important. It can’t hurt to remind your colleagues of this, as many people forget about oral health while at the office. Encourage your team members to adhere to the following recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Brush twice a day with an ADA-accepted toothpaste and soft-bristled brush
- Floss daily
- See a dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months (or when bristles become frayed)
- Avoid excess sugar as much as possible
In addition to reducing the risk for cavities and gum disease, taking probiotics may provide you and your coworkers with overall health benefits—so it doesn’t hurt to give this strategy a try!