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Your body is home to a unique set of microbes, and about 700 species live in your mouth.5, 7 These include microscopic bacteria, yeasts, and more. Collectively, they make up your unique oral microbiome.
Some oral bacteria are essential for good dental and overall health. Others cause oral health problems like bad breath and tooth decay.
Maintaining an optimal balance of beneficial bacteria can keep bad bacteria from harming you. Dental probiotics are one way to ensure you have enough healthy bacteria in your mouth.
Probiotics, including dental probiotics, are dietary supplements and food ingredients that restore a healthy balance of good bacteria in your body. Oral probiotics replenish the specific bacterial strains that support a healthy mouth environment.
Together with good oral hygiene and routine teeth cleanings, dental probiotics can help prevent:7
You’ve probably heard about probiotics in relation to gut health. Perhaps your doctor recommended a probiotic supplement to keep your digestive system healthy when traveling or taking antibiotics.
There are some differences between probiotics for gut and oral health. Certain bacteria strains have been shown to improve oral health. These include:3, 8-10
Most dental probiotic supplements come as chewable tablets or lozenges instead of pills. Because it’s intended to improve oral health, a dental probiotic should remain in your mouth for an extended amount of time.
Dental probiotics increase colonies of healthy bacteria (viable bacteria) in your oral microbiome. Having enough good bacteria keeps the harmful bacteria at bay.
If you think of your microbiome as a garden, beneficial bacteria are the flowers and harmful bacteria are the weeds. The more the flowers grow and thrive, the less space is available for weeds to take over. In this example, taking probiotics is like planting flower seeds.
If you’ve been swishing with mouthwash for years to no avail, probiotics for bad breath may be the answer. Taking oral probiotics to increase the good bacteria in your oral cavity is one of the best ways to fight bad breath.4
A University of Connecticut thesis showed a significant improvement in bad breath (halitosis) in 85% of people who took oral probiotic lozenges for one week.8
A wealth of research suggests a link between oral cancer and the oral microbiome.7 One study found that a specific oral bacteria called Lactobacillus plantarum can prevent cancer growth in the oral cavity.
Tooth protection is one of dental probiotics’ most significant oral health benefits. Many studies show a link between bad bacteria in the mouth and dental caries (tooth decay).4, 6-8
Oral probiotics have been shown to prevent tooth decay by:4, 6-8
Research has proven many benefits of oral probiotics, including:
It’s common to associate bad breath (halitosis) with meals containing onions and garlic. But in 90% of cases, bad bacteria in the oral cavity is the real cause.6
Oral probiotics are an effective halitosis treatment. They fight bad breath by targeting the bacteria strains that cause it.4
Tooth decay (dental caries) is a cause of bad breath and one of the most prevalent oral health problems in the world.4 An overgrowth of bad bacteria that break down tooth enamel causes tooth decay.
Taking a dental probiotic reduces the risk of dental caries by decreasing the pathogenic species of bacteria in your mouth.4
Dental plaque is a cause of decay and bad breath. Plaque results from undesirable bacteria building up on teeth and the gum line.
Removing plaque with a toothbrush and dental floss daily is critical to good oral health. Adding a dental probiotic to your oral hygiene routine can prevent undesirable bacteria buildup.4, 6-8
Many studies show that a dental probiotic can promote oral health in people with gum disease. For people with gum disease, taking an oral probiotic can1, 3-4, 6-10:
Oral cancer is the sixth most prevalent form of cancer worldwide and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.7,11
Taking an oral probiotic can inhibit the growth of oral cancer and prevent it from spreading.11
Oral thrush is an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast and can be painful. Several studies show that taking oral probiotics significantly reduces the risk of developing oral thrush.1-2, 4, 6-8
Taking a dental probiotic can help prevent various other oral health issues, such as:8
Your oral health is a good indicator of your overall health. Protecting your oral microbiome with a dental probiotic may reduce your risk for:7
Oral probiotics come in various forms, including:
Talk to your dentist about your specific oral problems and concerns. They can recommend a probiotic supplement and proper dosage.
Oral probiotics are not a replacement for hygiene practices like regularly brushing your teeth and flossing.
If you want to boost the good bacteria in your oral microbiome but don’t want to take a probiotic supplement, natural probiotics in certain foods can help.
Many probiotic strains occur in fermented foods, such as:
Some cheeses also contain probiotics. Look for “active cultures” or “live cultures” on the label.
Talk to your dentist about the dental formula oral probiotic that’s best for you. Dental probiotics are available as over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplements. Here are a few we recommend:
Benefits of these oral probiotics include:
This mint-flavored oral probiotic improves upper respiratory and oral health. Other benefits include:
These oral probiotics improve ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and dental health. Benefits include:
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