Let the good bacteria wash out the bad bacteria from your mouth


It seems that the ever continuing fight between good and bad can extend to your mouthwash too. Are you open to the idea of a bacteria laden mouthwash? Probably not. However, there is a research showing significant benefits of using probiotic mouthwashes in helping reduce bacterial count causing periodontal diseases. Held in India by a team led by Thakkar, the research aimed to understand the difference in plaque accumulation with use of placebo, chlorhexidine and a probiotic mouthwash.

The population selected for the study consisted of 90 school going children from ages 13 to 15 years. The students were randomly allocated to one of the three groups. The plaque scores were analysed by taking a baseline reading, one reading after 14 days of intervention on day 15th and finally after 3 weeks after the intervention was stopped. The statistical evidence found probiotic mouth wash was more effective than placebo and chlorhexidine both at the 14 day stage and three weeks after discontinuation.

The use of a probiotic mouth rinse may be the solution we look for in patients who receive periodontal treatment, and those who are vulnerable to infections of the periodontium due to low immunity or side effects of medications. In such cases, repeated periodontal treatment can be reduced as periodontal infections may contribute to other illnesses in the susceptible patients.

There is much research now available to defend this claim. In 2009, Zahradnik in his pilot human clinical trial found the product Probiora to be safe for daily use to maintain dental and periodontal health, after showing a considerable reduction in the number of periodontal pathogens in the oral cavity. Cannon in 2011 has also reviewed an important role probiotics can play in reducing oral disease incidences. All agree that as the market grows for natural probiotic supplementations, its role in dentistry is also found to be protective in nature, thereby preventing dental disease. These probiotics are safe and have been extensively used in maintaining health of gut, reducing allergies, improving and boosting immunity and improving overall quality of health. Haukioja in his paper describes the model with which probiotics are able to provide such beneficial effects. By creating aggregates and competing for the same space, the probiotics dislodge pathogens. In the same manner, the probiotics compete for food resources and remove pathogens again. Finally, these probiotics enhance the host immune response by formation of IgA, thereby reducing inflammation, which in turn reduces the bacterial count in the oral cavity.

The use of probiotic technology may be the next step in the evolution of mouthwashes. Where difficulty in accessing general dental care is there, these and similar products can be useful to prevent unwanted periodontal and oral diseases.

February 7, 2014

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