Say Cheese, and Add Probiotics to Fend Off Oral Thrush

IPA AdminClinical Corner, Market Trends

Teeth wear out long before we do.

Dentures offer a decent solution but are prime breeding sites for Candida albicans, a fungus which when overgrown in the oral cavity is called thrush.

Probiotics may be an alternative to antifungal agents in the prevention and treatment of oral candida. Research described in an IPA blog Probiotics May Fight Candida in Dentures showed reduction in infections for elderly denture wearers. In that 2014 study, probiotic capsules or placebo capsules were emptied onto the maxillary denture.

Good news of course. But in reality, older people with dentures may already be on a slew of prescriptions and supplements. Probiotics added to the list are not always welcomed, or even taken.

Researchers in Brazil wondered if cheese would be a worthwhile vehicle with which to supplement probiotics in this group, and if the fortified cheeses would reduce oral candida.

Tatiana Yuriko Miyazima of the School of Dentistry at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and colleagues designed a randomly controlled trial to look at both ideas. The work appears as Cheese supplemented with probiotics reduced the Candida levels in denture wearers –RCT in March 2017 Oral Diseases journal.

The study

  • 60 denture-wearers with oral candida were randomly assigned to one of two supplemented (Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus rhamnosus) cheese groups or one control group.
  • 8 weeks of daily consumption
  • Oral samples were obtained through a mouthwash, and candida levels determined (CFU/mL) at baseline and after the 8 week experimental period.


  • Before the study, all the participants displayed similar candida levels as measured by colony-forming units.
  • Candida levels were significantly reduced in the two groups of participants receiving the daily cheese with probiotics.
  • Candida levels were not reduced in the one group eating the plain cheese.
  • The age of and type of denture appeared not to be a factor in the outcome.

“Daily consumption of cheese supplemented with probiotics… was able to reduce the colonization of oral Candida in complete denture wearers, suggesting its potential in reducing the risk of oral candidiasis in this highly susceptible population.”

Adding probiotics to foods and beverages is not new. But using edibles as targeted therapies with specific strains shown to be helpful is more recent and looks promising. This method comes with the usual regulatory challenges which are much heavier in food than supplements.


Probiotics Pass the Oral Exam

Probiotics May Fight Candida in Dentures