Connection between Probiotics and Oral Health


The word “Probiotic” comes from the Greek language, which means “for life”. Probiotics are defined by them as “live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host”(Food Agriculture Organization (FAO)/WHO 2001).

Though the benefits of probiotics in the gut are well recognised the attempts of exploration of potential benefits of probiotics in oral health are still growing.

The human mouth is inhabited by approximately 1000 different species of bacteria at 108–109 bacteria per mL saliva or mg dental plaque!

The idea behind tapping potential of probiotics in maintaining oral health is the fact that our mouth provides a niche to a plethora of micro-organisms which may be replaced by more beneficial organisms found in probiotics, preventing, halting or reversing the diseases process. Strains belonging to the LactobacillusStreptococcus and   Bifidobacterium genera are most commonly investigated as regards probiotics. In India, sporolac i.e., Sporolactobacilli is commonly used as probiotic.

Composition of Probiotic

Probiotics can be yeast, bacteria or moulds. Most commonly, they are bacteria. Some of these bacterial species are:

1. Lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB): Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus.
2. Non LAB species: Bacillus, Propionibacterium
3. Non-pathogenic yeasts: Saccharomyces

Probiotics are available in the form of powder, liquid, gel, paste, granules, capsule or sachets. Commercially marketed probiotics can be available in the form of Milk, Yogurt, Straw, and Ice-cream. Medicinal preparations are available as mouth rinses, tablets, and lozenges

Complete Information on Prebiotics and Probiotics


Potential and established systemic health benefits include:

• Improved intestinal health

• Modulation of the immune response`

• Reduced risk of cancer

• Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases

• Improved tolerance of milk

How Probiotic can improve oral health? 

  • Probiotic directly interacts with the bacteria within the dental plaque, disrupting of plaque formation. Probiotic compete with indigenous species for binding sites on host tissues and competing for nutrients. Probiotic species that inhibit other oral bacteria by secretion of antimicrobial substance: Organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, peptides, bacteriocins and anti-adhesion molecules.
  • In the indirect approach, Probiotic alter body response to micro-organisms. Probiotic may downregulate the production of inflammatory substances, enhance mucin production and barrier function, promoting wound healing.
The decrease in plaque formation
Probiotic directly interacts with the bacteria within the dental plaque, disrupting of plaque formation.
Prevention and treatment of oral infection
Probiotics and dental caries
The localisation of bacteria on tooth surface and fermentation of sugars into acids results in Dental caries. Streptococcus mutans is one of the main causative organism for dental caries. Elevated levels of streptococcus counts are strongly associated with increased risk of dental caries.
Probiotic bacteria have the capacity to dislodge cariogenic bacteria and
replace it with non-cariogenic bacteria.
Only two strains are capable of preventing the occurrence of dental caries and these two bacteria are Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis. These bacteria can adhere to the tooth surface. and then they can gain entry into the plaque.
Probiotics in periodontal disease
 The presence of S. oralis and S. uberis often associated with healthy gingiva. Probiotic can inhibit the growth of periodontal pathogens including Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. Probiotics aggregate with oral commensals changes the composition of biofilms and prevents gingiva and  periodontal diseases
Role of probiotics in the orthodontic treatment
Fixed orthodontic appliance act as a niche which harbours and support growth and accumulation of microorganisms leading to loss of tooth structure. Probiotics can reduce the salivary count of mutans streptococci in orthodontic patients.
Candidiasis: Fungal infection
Candida albicans is among the most common infectious agents present in the oral cavity. Candidiasis is commonly seen in elderly and in immunocompromised patients.  Consumption of Probiotics has shown a decrease in C. albicans count.
Dosage of Probiotics
Not specific any specific dosage!! Studies carried out showed a wide range of dosages that are safe for various probiotics.
For lactobacilli, dosages ranged from 100 million to 1.8 trillion colony-forming units per day, and for Saccharomyces dosages between 250 mg and 500 mg/day.
Variations are seen in dosages depending on the age, where dosages for children are typically half the adult dose and for infants, it is one-fourth the adult dose.

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