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Should dentists use probiotics?

by adminjay

Surina Sehgal explores the importance of probiotics for our oral health and what products help support it.

There is a growing trend online around the benefits of probiotics for your oral health.

Many of us are already aware of the benefits of taking probiotics for gut health and digestive health. But attention is now shifting to the area of mouth health.

This makes sense as the mouth is in fact the start of the digestive tract with the digestive enzymes in our saliva.

Research from Google shows that in the last year alone there has been a +171% increase in searches for oral probiotics. This shows patients are becoming more and more interested in this new and emerging trend.

But should dentists use probiotics with their patients?

What are probiotics and prebiotics?

Let’s start by explaining what probiotics and prebiotics exactly are.

Probiotics are defined as living microorganisms, principally bacteria, that are safe to consume. When ingested they have beneficial effects on our health.

Prebiotics are also important. They don’t actually contain bacteria, they are fuel to help ‘good’ bacteria grow.

The fibre inulin, found in bananas, asparagus and chicory root is a prebiotic that is nutrition for gut bacteria.

Essentially, prebiotic fibres help feed and drive growth of beneficial bacteria. Eating foods that contain probiotics and prebiotics is one of the ways to strengthen our bodies’ natural defences along with other healthy lifestyle choices.

What is the relevance for our oral health?

Oral probiotics are specific strains of bacteria that are thought to aid in creating a healthy oral microbiome. They encourage the growth of good bacteria and prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Oral probiotic strains considered as the most beneficial to oral health include: lactobacillus reuters, lactobacillus salivarius.

These are usually given through lozenges, drinks, mouth rinse or chewable tablets (Laleman and Teughels, 2015). They asit in your mouth while they dissolve, thus allowing enough time to have a beneficial effect on your microbiome.

They work by secreting antimicrobial substances, which change the pH of the environment to reduce pathogenic bacteria. The good bacteria in oral probiotics can also help create biofilms with more good bacteria and fewer pathogenic bacteria. These new biofilms support the health of the teeth and gingiva.

Research is still in its early stages. But evidence is strong to show how probiotics can improve bacterial diversity in the mouth (Hemarajata and Versalovic, 2012).

There is also early research that shows the benefits of probiotics can help address common oral diseases such as cavities, periodontal disease, oral thrush, halitosis (bad breath) and tonsillitis (Dassi et al, 2018).

Another way to support bacterial diversity in the mouth is to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Products with ingredients containing prebiotics can assist this. By providing nutrition for the good bacteria to flourish, there is less room for pathogenic bacteria to multiply. This creates a healthy balance in the oral microbiome, which is key for oral health.

What products can we use to support this?

Good oral hygiene is of course the foundation to oral health, such as brushing twice daily and flossing once daily.

However, the type of toothpaste you use is also important.

Zendium is a toothpaste that is actually proven to increase good bacteria in the mouth. It has a prebiotic effect and contains natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins to help boost good bacteria and reduce bad bacteria to keep the oral microbiome healthy.

In using this fluoride toothpaste, Zendium’s formulation helps to fight against dental caries, improves gingival condition and can aid with fighting bad breath.

Zendium not only helps support a healthy oral microbiome, but it also is SLS-free. SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) is a foaming agent found in toothpaste. It can irritate some patient’s mouths and can also destruct the enzymes and proteins in Zendium’s formulation.

Being SLS free not only maintains the biological activity of the enzymes, but also makes Zendium four times gentler on the soft tissues of the mouth than an SLS-containing toothpaste (Zendium data on file). This makes Zendium more suitable for those with vulnerable mouths.

As awareness of products that support a healthy oral microbiome continue to grow alongside patient interest in probiotics and prebiotics for oral health. We as dental professionals should start to have these conversations with our patients to help improve their oral health.

If patients are considering taking probiotic/prebiotic supplements, they should be closely monitored by their doctor to ensure they are taking the recommended dose.


Dassi E, Ferretti P, Covello G, Bertorelli R, Denti MA, De Sanctis V, Tett A and Segata N (2018) The short-term impact of probiotic consumption on the oral cavity microbiome. Sci Rep 8: 10476

Hemarajata P and Versalovic J (2012) Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv in Gastroenterol 6(1): 39-51

Laleman I and Teughels W (2015) Probiotics in the dental practice: a review. Quintessence Int 46(3): 255-64

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