Probiotics and Your Child’s Dental Health

Probiotics are healthy bacteria. They’re mostly known for their impact on digestive health. But research is starting to show that they can help keep your child’s mouth healthy too.

The most common dental health issues are caused by bacteria. Relatively new studies show that using probiotics for your children’s dental health can “fight fire with fire.” The use of probiotics for dental health is an exciting discovery proving the association between the food we eat and disease prevention. 

Although many studies are still in the early stage, the data shows that the ingestion of probiotics has a positive impact in preventing the common issues we see in our Upper East Side pediatric dentistry practice. Scientists have discovered that probiotics are an effective, natural and economic means of fighting cavities, gum disease, plaque and bad breath. All of these originate from bacteria.

There are many types of bacteria, both good and bad, that exist in our mouths. The bacteria that cause tooth decay (caries) are usually a species called Streptococcus mutans. Different varieties of bacteria generate toxins that play a role in Gingivitis, periodontal disease and bad breath (halitosis.) Probiotics help combat all of these.

Possible dental benefits of some probiotics shown in studies include:

  • Lactobacillus inhibited growth of bacteria causing periodontitis

  • Chewing gum with Lactobacillus protected against gingivitis 

  • Gargling with a solution of the bacterium Weissella cibaria (formerly, classified as a Lactobacillus) inhibited bacteria that causes halitosis

Nature’s Probiotics for Dental Health

Nature provides an abundant amount of foods for boosting the friendly bacteria in the body. Dairy sources of probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, cultured cottage cheese and buttermilk that contain Lactobacillus. In one study of 694 children aged one to six years, children consuming milk products with Lactobacillus had fewer dental caries and lower levels of S. mutans in their saliva than controls. 

Eating a healthy diet that provides probiotics can increase your child’s oral health for years to come. Practicing daily oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is also essential to your child’s dental health. So is a twice-yearly checkup. Call our pediatric dental office for your child’s checkup to ensure that you’re on the right path to dental health.