Prebiotics and Probiotics Help Improve Oral Microbiome
Functional Dentists generally recommend taking in more prebiotics and probiotics to improve the oral microbiome. Prebiotics (think, “Eat A Rainbow”) and additional probiotics (food and supplements), as needed, help support and restore good bacteria and other organic material within your oral microbiome.
The Oral Microbiome
The oral microbiome is crucial to good health. It forms healthy biofilms throughout the mouth to create an ecosystem that maintains your health in a state of equilibrium. It helps the immune system and nutrient exchanges between your saliva and your teeth. The variety of bacteria in the oral microbiome includes a balance of symbiotic, interdependent, and even some in low numbers) pathogenic microorganisms (microbial homeostasis).
With over 2 billion thriving bacteria, your mouth is an extraordinary habitat for microbes to colonize the hard surfaces of the teeth and the soft tissues of the oral mucosa. The bacteria forming the oral microbiome form a semipermeable membrane (biofilm) that performs vital functions to help keep your mouth healthy.
A Healthy Oral Microbiome is Key to Good Oral Health
A healthy oral microbiome is key to good oral health. It can help prevent or address oral diseases such as cavities, gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), oral thrush (candidiasis), bad breath (halitosis), respiratory infections, tonsillitis, and oral cancer.
Maintaining a healthy oral microbiome may require creating good bacteria to develop new biofilms to replace those diseased by harmful bacteria. New biofilms support the health of teeth and gums, reduce inflammation, and block harmful bacteria from reaching enamel, gum tissue, and even your tonsils, stomach, and beyond!
Prebiotics and Oral Probiotics
The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that probiotics are live micro-organisms.
Prebiotics are dietary fibers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut by acting as a food source for them. Prebiotics enable your existing good bacteria and those introduced by oral probiotics to maintain the balance of your oral microbiome to help you stay in good health.
Strains of probiotics specifically designed to support oral health are called oral probiotics or dental probiotics. These generally chewable supplements are loaded with good bacteria that your mouth’s mini-immune system uses to fight decay, prevent plaque, fight bad breath, manage symptoms of gingivitis, prevent oral cancer, and fight respiratory infections.
Unlike a typical probiotic that you swallow, an oral probiotic works right where the cavity-causing bacteria live. An oral probiotic can boost the number of helpful bacteria in your mouth, and chewing them is often the most effective delivery system.
Probiotics also help buffer enamel-harming acids and actively fight against pathogenic bacteria. People who are more cavity-prone and those trying to reverse a cavity can benefit from oral probiotics. They can also help support your gut health as your oral microbiome, and gut microbiome are closely connected.
Oral probiotics introduce helpful bacteria that prevent tooth decay with little to no side effects. They typically come in chewable tablets or lozenges and are best taken after flossing and brushing your teeth.
Learn More About Prebiotics and Probiotics with Doctor Staci
Are you considering adding prebiotics and probiotics to your children’s daily routine to support their oral microbiome? Doctor Staci regularly posts tips and advice for parents who want to make oral care fun for their little ones. Follow Doctor Staci on Instagram or TikTok to learn more about encouraging and maintaining good oral health for your whole family.
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