February 15, 2017

Probiotics: An Innovative Solution for Oral Health

Filed under:Digestion — Tags: , — BethInman —

From Life Extension Magazine

For many people, strict adherence to brushing and flossing twice daily may not be enough. The consequence is deterioration of gums and teeth with invariable periodontal disease.

Researchers have discovered a unique solution to ensure healthier gums and teeth as we age. It comes in the form of a targeted probiotic that has been found to work specifically in the mouth. This unique probiotic helps destroy disease-causing bacteria and replaces them with beneficial bacteria that protect teeth and gums.

In a revealing human study, subjects receiving the oral probiotic showed an impressive reduction in indicators of plaque buildup, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and pocket depth between gums and tooth roots.

Americans have an alarmingly high rate of gum disease. Beyond the potential for tooth loss, gum disease is associated with health problems throughout the entire body,including cardiovascular, brain, kidney, and bone diseases.

A major factor in the development of tooth and gum disease is an imbalance in the normal oral microbial community of the mouth, in which disease-causing organisms overwhelm those that contribute to good health.

Researchers have discovered a targeted oral probiotic that is able to “safeguard” the oral cavity, help minimize bad bacteria, and replace it with beneficial bacteria instead.

Studies have shown that oral probiotics improve gum health and reduce risk factors for dangerous periodontal (gum) disease. That risk reduction, in turn, translates into substantially lower risk for a host of systemic disease processes commonly associated with aging.

How Oral Health Impacts the Entire Body

Disorders involving the teeth are among the most common health problems in US adults, with 96% of those 65 and older having cavities in their permanent teeth and about 20% of adults 65 and older having untreated tooth decay.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an even more serious and potentially dangerous problem in aging adults.13 More than 70% of adults 65 and older have periodontitis, a term that includes a range of conditions from simple gingivitis (inflammation of the gums without destruction of bone or tooth structures) to aggressive periodontitis,which can lead to bone loss, weakening of the ligaments that hold teeth in place, and eventual tooth loss.

The consequences of periodontal disease are grave, and considerably more threatening than dental cavities. And, while many have to face the expense of dental work or dentures, tooth loss alone can lead to serious malnutrition as the act of chewing becomes increasingly difficult

What many people might not know is that periodontal disease is a major threat to health throughout the body.

The degree of periodontal inflammation and the presence of pathogenic bacteria has long been linked to coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Periodontal pathology also contributes to:

  • Cancers of the oral cavity and other regions caused chronic infections and inflammation.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as a result of inflammatory changes. Accumulation of neuron-destroying amyloid beta increases in adults with periodontal disease.
  • A variety of lung disorders, whichare associated with periodontal disease, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and viral hepatitis, which are likely to be associated with inflammatory periodontal disease
  • Kidney diseases, including renal insufficiency and chronic kidney disease, show close associations with periodontal problems.

The Underlying Cause of Gum Disease

How can something as seemingly simple as gum disease have such potentially drastic health effects throughout the body? The answer comes down to one of the underlying causes of gum disease, which is the excessive growth of pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms in the oral cavity. This creates the twin threats of infection and inflammation, which feed on each other in a vicious cycle and can have disastrous effects on many body systems.

Present in everyone, the oral microbiome, is a complex set of interacting microbial populations, which when in a healthy balance, support and protect the delicate mucous membranes as well as the surfaces of the teeth themselves.

Shifts in the normal microbial community, however, lead to a host of problems, ranging from dental caries (“cavities”) that arise from excessive acid-producing bacteria, to gum disease that contributes to tooth loss and diseases in parts of the body far removed from the mouth itself.

Our growing recognition of both the severity of periodontal disease and its relationship to an imbalance in the oral microbial populations have led to calls for use of oral probiotics as effective preventive measures, in an effort to re-establish a healthy microbial community in the mouth. The results are extremely promising.