Oral Health : Need Something to Smile About?

Courtesy of Garden of Life

It might be described as warfare and it goes on constantly -- and often undetected -- in your body. Some of the "good guys" in this battle include microbes known as probiotics, defined as "living microorganisms which upon ingestion in certain numbers exert health benefits beyond inherent general nutrition."

In fact, the probiotics S. salivarius and B. coagulans are two strains of these beneficial bacteria that battle it out in your mouth to help maintain healthy gums and teeth. They work in a similar fashion as the probiotics that target your digestive flora. In fact, much like the skirmishes being fought in the gut, the war going on in your mouth is between various microorganisms, both good and evil.

Most of us know to brush, floss and rinse on a regular basis, but that's not always enough. Thanks to some pioneering scientists, probiotics are now known to help support oral health. Scientists have been interested in the microbial makeup of the mouth for decades, trying to identify factors that promote the growth of healthy organisms and oral health.

They found it in these probiotics. Here's why.

S. salivarius has the ability to promote healthy microorganisms in the mouth. Other microorganisms produce toxins that interfere with the normal function of the body. By taking up space in the mouth, S. salivarius keeps those unwanted microorganisms from setting up camp in the oral cavity, thereby providing an excellent first line of defense against toxins.

B. coagulans is also a powerful probiotic that provides support for the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract, which is another breeding ground for toxic microorganisms. Much like S. salivarius, B. coagulans works to reduce toxic load by inhibiting these toxins from traveling further into the body (beyond the mouth). This may allow your digestive system to function at its best.

Learning about S. salivarius and B. coagulans made researchers realize that the simple use of probiotics could make a significant and positive difference in oral health -- and beyond. In fact, a microbiologist from New Zealand named Dr. John Tagg is largely credited with advancing the science of using probiotics to support oral health.

Dr. Tagg began his work with a 1981 paper publication that identified certain friendly oral bacteria. Tagg's work culminated in a 2003 paper that identified the "ongoing battle" between oral microbes. He proposed further investigation of the use of oral probiotics to colonize the mouth with health-supporting beneficial bacteria -- particularly S. salivarius.

Now that's something to smile about.

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