Probiotics again show oral health potential

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oral health Lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus

Probiotics again show oral health potential
At least seven strains of lactic acid bacteria show potential oral health benefits, according to Spanish researchers.

Results published in the Archives of Oral Biology​ offer supplement manufacturers a range of potential probiotic strains for use in the emerging oral health segment, mainly as gum formulations.

Euromonitor stated in a recent comment article: “Probiotics are in line to become the next blockbuster functional ingredients in gum and mints”​.

“Taking all [our] results together, it is suggested that at least seven of the new isolated lactic acid bacteria strains show promising properties to be used as potential probiotics, alone or as a part of a probiotic formula, for improving oral health,”​ report scientists from AB-BIOTICS in Spain and the International University of Catalonia in Barcelona.

“However, in order to demonstrate their efficacy for preventing oral diseases, controlled and well-designed clinical trials must be performed.”

Oral health potential

Several studies have already reported potential benefits of specific bacterial strains to control dental plaque-related diseases, such as caries, gingivitis and periodontitis. A study with 42 subjects with moderate gingivitis published recently in the journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavica​ showed benefits of L. reuteri​ prodentis against gingivitis, otherwise known as bleeding or inflamed gums.

Danish researchers used BioGaia’s proprietary probiotic strain and found its interaction with the immune system could boost oral health.

Furthermore, a pilot study using Yakult’s probiotic milk drink found that a daily dose of probiotics may reduce inflammation and bleeding in the mouth linked to gingivitis and gum disease (periodontitis).

Results published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology​ (2009, Vol. 36, pp. 850-856) indicated that the Lactobacillus casei​ strain Shirota may improve oral health based on its influence of the immune system.

Another company active in this sector is Frutarom, which has developed an ingredient from a specific strain of S. salivarius​ with reported protection against cavities and dental plaque.

Despite such potential, the Spanish researchers note that selection of the best probiotic strains for oral health is “still an open issue”​.


In order to deepen our knowledge of this area, they sought to isolate and characterize lactic acid bacteria “according to the international guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics”​, and then to identify the strains with the best potential for oral health benefits.

One hundred strains were isolated from healthy children and tested for their potential oral health effects. Forty-six of which were classified as lactic acid bacteria.

The researchers noted that most of the new isolated strains were “resistant to oral conditions, have great ability to form aggregates and have high antagonistic activity against oral pathogens. None of the strains produced unpleasant volatile compounds”​.

“In this work lactic acid bacteria which possess good functional probiotic properties, such as antimicrobial activity against oral pathogens, ability to aggregate and to adhere to oral tissues or high tolerance to oral environmental stress factors were isolated and characterized,”​ they concluded.

Source: Archives of Oral Biology
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.10.006
“Isolation and characterization of probiotic strains for improving oral health”
Authors: M. Bosch, J.N. Molina, S. Audivert, M.A. Bonachera, A.S.Alemany, M.C. Fuentes, J. Cune

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