Traditionally used for digestive health, probiotics are finding a new niche in your dentist's chair. Oral probiotics can help control disease carrying pathogens. Gingivitis, for example, is the result of pathogens attacking small food particles and good probiotics help reduce the growth of those pathogens. In fact, good probiotics may help to reduce the risk of everything from gingivitis to bad breath. Studies on the role of probiotics in dentistry as far back as 2005 have said that "because of the increasing global problem with antimicrobial drug resistance, the concept of probiotic therapy ... merits further research." And research is finding that good probiotics could indeed lead to strategies for cavity protection and control "due to their inhibitory action against cariogenic streptococci (cavity-causing bacteria)" and that "daily intake of probiotic supplements may control common oral and dental infections." The key is the ability of probiotic supplements to regulate pH levels in the mouth, which can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. This can help prevent plaque buildup, which often leads to gingivitis and other problems. Dr. Mark Cannon, Associate Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago has even suggested that "dental professionals should be actively pursuing this potentially very useful therapeutic measure for the benefit of their patients." Share this information with your dentist and ask if he or she has considered adding probiotic supplements to their recommendations. Who knows, you might inspire a whole new treatment protocol!
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