Some individuals never floss, barely take care of their mouth, and still have no dental issues while others feel like they do everything they can and still experience breakdown. This phenomenon commonly gets blamed on genetics, but genetics has very little to do with the health of our teeth. So why do some people seemingly have much better oral health than others, even in the absence of optimal nutrition and homecare? The answer is bacteria. More specifically, the ratio of good vs bad bacterial strains in the oral cavity.
Multiple factors go in to determining the bacteria in one’s mouth, and the strains can shift at any time. Some factors include normal vs cesarean birth, breast vs bottle fed, over antibiotic use, and environment growing up. Later in life, exposure to certain chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, poor food choices / quality, and additional antibiotic use disrupt healthy ecosystems and give rise to environments (both in the gut and the mouth) where pathogenic bacterial strains thrive.
All oral home care (flossing, soft picks technique, brushing, rinsing, tongue scraping, oil pulling, etc.) is performed to remove food debris and disrupt / remove bacteria and their homes (plaque) as much as possible. The problem is that all home care provides a temporary (still extremely important) fix. Once bacteria are removed, it only takes around 30 minutes for them to begin to repopulate the mouth. Oral probiotics work to change the strains of bacteria that come back and colonize, shifting the balance of good vs bad bacteria in the mouth. They are one of the only things that can change the overall environment of the mouth long term, improving issues like decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
An oral probiotic is designed to address the microbiome of the mouth. Our professional strength dental probiotic contains a unique blend of 7 bacterial strains chosen for their specific oral benefits and for synergistic actions.
Streptococcus salivarius (BLIS K-12) – The predominant nondisease-associated colonizer of a healthy oral microbiome. Extremely effective in reducing bad breath and helps prevent oral inflammation. Produces at least two different bacteriocins to inhibit the growth undesirable bacteria.
Streptococcus salivarius (BLIS M-18) – BLIS stands for “bacteriocin like inhibitory substances”, and refers to the bacteria’s ability to produce antibiotic like compounds that inhibit the colonization and growth of less desirable bacterial strains resulting in less bleeding, plaque formation, and cavities.
Streptococcus thermophilus – Stimulates growth of other probiotics, which is why it is commonly used as a starter culture for yogurts. It works synergistically with lactobacillus strains to encourage proliferation and binding. Produces antibiotic chemicals to prevent certain infections like pneumonia and C. difficile. Can also help prevent ulcers.
Lactobacillus acidophilus – All lactobacillus strains can produce antimicrobial compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, carbon peroxide, diacetyl, bacteriocins, and adhesion inhibitors which assists in inhibiting strep mutans and other pathogens.
Lactobacillus salivarius – Protects against bad breath. Provides a salivary pH buffering mechanism that results in a better environment for remineralization and cavity prevention. Reduces plaque formation and improves periodontal pockets.
Lactobacillus paracasei – Cannot ferment sucrose so less acid production. Suppresses growth of strep mutans and other periodontal pathogens. Inhibits plaque formation.
Lactobacillus reuteri – Produces a compound called reuterin, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial substance that is effective against multiple pathogens. Also reduces general bleeding and inflammation (gingivitis).
Oral Probiotics Benefits
Oral probiotics aid in cavity prevention by inhibiting the growth and colonization of pathogenic bacteria as well as helping to maintain a balanced salivary pH. Demineralization and enamel breakdown occur when the saliva is stuck below a pH of 5.5 for too long, forcing the enamel to leach calcium and phosphate in attempts to buffer the acids. Along with homecare techniques including baking soda and optimal nutrition providing more minerals and less sugar, the beneficial bacteria in oral probiotics can help neutralize acids in the oral environment.
Gum Health and Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a slow downward spiral from plaque formation causing gum and connective tissue inflammation to hardened calculus and bacterial toxins causing deepened pockets and bone loss. Probiotics work by increasing beneficial bacteria that naturally prevent the creation and progression of plaque formation. Inflammation and periodontal pockets are reduced, making home care easier to keep the teeth and gums clean.
Halitosis is primarily a bacterial dysbiosis in the mouth. The unfavorable bacteria commonly colonize the back of the tongue, feeding off of proteins, blood, food debris, and other compounds present in the saliva. They produce volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) which are responsible for the foul odor of the breath. Other complicating factors such as poor dental restorations, leaking PFM crowns, extreme oral galvanism, reinfected root canals, as well as candida and other gut issues can make the smell even worse. Decreasing bad bacteria results in a direct reduction of volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath.
Yeast Infections and Oral Candida
Candida albicans is a leading cause of fungal infections in the mouth. S. thermophilus inhibits adhesion of candida albicans. S. salivarius K-12 prevents adhesion of candida to oral mucosa. L. paracasei and L. reuteri both inhibit overall candida growth.
Ear and Throat Infections
S. salivarius K-12 showed an 80% reduction of strep throat infections and tonsillitis after 90 days in 2013 Italian study. Other studies have replicated the results and demonstrated that the healthy bacteria provided lasting protective effects.
Bad oral bacteria do not only cause breakdown in the mouth. They have been linked to multiple systemic issues such as heart disease, lung conditions, diabetes, and strokes. Oral probiotics would help decrease the risk of these conditions by reducing oral pathogens.
Oral Probiotic Use
The unique blend of 7 bacterial strainsare preserved in a freeze-dried tablet, activating when dissolved by saliva. Start taking the oral probiotic immediately after a professional cleaning. The beneficial bacteria initiate a healthy colonization of your mouth. For daily use, dissolve tablet on tongue about 10-15 minutes after brushing and flossing your teeth at night. Avoid food or water for 30 minutes after, especially anything containing sugar.
Gut Probiotic vs Oral Probiotic
The commonly purchased probiotic is specifically designed for overall guthealth. Gut bacteria have no effect on the oral cavity and oral probiotics would not do much to benefit the gut. Oral probiotics contain strains that are beneficial to and thrive in a healthy mouth. Think of it like this. A palm tree from Florida, a pine tree from Pennsylvania, and a tropical flower from the rainforest are all plants, but they don’t survive if transplanted to each other’s locations.