You’re most likely familiar with antibiotics, the form of medicine prescribed to kill bacteria that cause illness and disease. However, you may not be familiar with probiotics, which restore healthy bacteria into the body. Though long revered for their role in supporting digestive and immune health, probiotics are now making headlines for also contributing to stronger dental health.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that support health, particularly the digestive system. Although bacteria has a reputation of causing disease and illness, a certain amount of healthy bacteria is needed to balance the digestive system and support the immune system. Probiotics provide these healthy bacteria to keep the body working in harmony. They are especially useful while taking antibiotics to prevent medication from killing the good bacteria along with the bad.
How Can Probiotics Support Oral Health?
New research is consistently demonstrating the potential for probiotics to improve oral health by fighting gum disease, plaque, and even bad breath. According to a study published in the Swedish Dental Journal, probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with gingivitis, and a study published in Caries Research asserts the power of probiotics to fight cavities.
Probiotics are able to have these strong oral health effects because they target infection-producing microbes, also known as pathogens. By supporting the immune system, probiotics prevent pathogens from becoming woven into the body’s tissues and make it much harder for pathogens to thrive.
What are the Best Sources of Probiotics?
Yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, fermented vegetables, and Kombucha are great dietary sources of probiotics, but it’s also easy enough to take a probiotic supplement. These supplements typically come in the form of a capsule that’s taken once or twice a day. Some probiotic supplements are designed for extreme deficiency cases while others use strains that specifically target women or children.