As the folks in the massive baby boomer generation slip into old age, they hope to take their teeth with them.
Probiotics may help as they compete with harmful bacteria– primarily streptococci mutans which feast on leftover food morsels and cause cavities which can lead to loss of teeth.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri have been effective in reducing tooth decay. Also, Lactobacillus reuteri has proven to be helpful against gingivitis, lessening bacterial plaque. Even bad breath or halitosis seems to improve when good bacteria are introduced into the oral cavity.
Other studies suggest a role for probiotics in oral yeast infections (Candida albicans), common in the elderly or immunocompromised patients.
A recent study from São Paulo, Brazil explored the use of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of oral candidiasis.
In this study, 59 denture wearers harboring Candida spp. in the oral cavity with no clinical symptoms were allocated into two groups: probiotic and placebo. All patients were told to clean the denture daily. The probiotic group poured a capsule containing different strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophillus and Bifidobacterium bifidum daily on the surface of the maxillary denture. One group used placebo capsules. Before and then after a five-week period, Candida spp. infection levels were evaluated.
- All harbored Candida in the palate mucosa at baseline.
- Candida spp. was present in 92.0% in the placebo group after the experimental period.
- Candida spp. was present in only 16.7% in the probiotic group after the experimental period.
The authors concluded that the “use of a product with L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and B. bifidum may represent an alternative treatment for reduction of Candida infections in elderly denture wearers.”
Read the article here in Journal of Prosthodontics.