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Probiotics May Be the Key to Fighting Gum Disease

Probiotics May Be the Key to Fighting Gum Disease

As a family and cosmetic dentist in West Linn, OR, our staff at Dugger Dentistry want all of our patients to enjoy the very best oral health possible. As patients of Dr. Dugger know, the best way to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums is by avoiding gingivitis.

Gingivitis – an early stage of gum disease – develops when plaque is allowed to build up on the surface of your teeth and along the gum line. By brushing and flossing daily, you can successfully remove plaque before the bacteria can harm your long-term oral health.

However, considering the importance of your oral health, you can never practice too many habits that help to protect your teeth and gums.

Early research has indicated that a simple change to an individual’s diet to include more probiotics – a healthy type of bacteria commonly found in the body – may help to delay, slow or even top the oral bacteria that contributes to the development of gum disease, according to researchers from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Diet & Your Oral Health

In one study, researchers had participants take two different types of Lactobacillus reuteri (a type of probiotic) or a placebo. The severity of participants’ indicators for gingivitis were reduced in all three groups, though only one of the two different types of the probiotic demonstrated greater improvement at reducing the disease than the placebo.

The buildup of plaque in participants also decreased in both of the groups that took the probiotics. The mixture that demonstrated the greatest decrease in the indicators for gingivitis was one that colonized 65 percent of the participants while the mixture that showed the least decrease had a probiotic colonization of 95 percent.

Researchers developed three theories behind why probiotics have proven successful at fighting gingivitis. They suggested that probiotic secretions limit the growth of a variety of pathogens; probiotics have an easy time colonizing, which allows them to “crowd out” harmful bacteria from the mouth. Probiotics have also demonstrated the ability to limit the effectiveness of inflammatory substances that help to contribute to gingivitis.

A second study examined the effects two strains of probiotics had on preventing gingivitis. Participants who took the probiotics showed a drop in gum disease, and they enjoyed lower plaque levels overall.

Oral probiotics are developed to replace good microorganisms in the mouth. Once the number of probiotic bacteria becomes large enough, they can overtake harmful bacteria trying to establish a home in the mouth, pushing them out entirely.

Importance of Good Oral Health

When left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and damage to joints and bones. Recent studies have even linked gum disease to a range of chronic illnesses that include stroke, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. While more research is needed to understand just exactly how probiotics may help in preventing gum disease, your family and cosmetic dentist in West Linn, OR at Dugger Dentistry will keep an eye on this exciting breakthrough.

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