Best probiotics for periodontal disease

Updated on :

By Dr. HMT

Like the gut, the mouth also houses a wide range of bacteria known as the oral microbiome. A shift in the balance towards harmful bacteria can result in severe dental issues such as periodontal or gum disease.

The good news is that probiotics, or “friendly germs,” can step in to safeguard your oral health. With that said, let’s delve into how probiotics can aid in the treatment of periodontal disease!

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammation and infection of the gums and bones that support your teeth. 

It starts with swollen, red, and bleeding gums called Gingivitis. It is the mildest form of the disease. Gingivitis, left unchecked, can transform into a more severe Periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, and bone can be lost. In the worst case, the teeth may loosen and even fall out.

It is considered the chief cause of tooth loss for adults worldwide.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

When treated early enough, gum disease is reversible. However, if the disease is too advanced, it cannot be reversed. Therefore, it is crucial to notice the early warning signs. Periodontal disease occurs in four stages and the symptoms differ depending on the stages. 

  1. Gingivitis – red, swollen gums that bleed on brush or floss, may tender on touch
  1. Mild periodontitis – Gum recession (gums pull away from your teeth making them appear longer)
  1. Moderate periodontitis – bad breath(halitosis), pus between your teeth and gums, painful chewing
  1. Severe periodontitis – Loose teeth or teeth may fall out

Risk factors for periodontal disease

  • Age (older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease) 
  • Tobacco use (smoking, betel chewing) 
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease
  • Stress
  • Female hormonal changes, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and oral contraceptive pills
  • Family history of periodontal disease in parents or siblings
  • Certain medications 

What causes periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by the infection of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth which leads to inflammation around the tooth and affects the surrounding tissue. 

The bacteria, if left unchecked, form a film on the teeth called plaque. Regular removal of dental plaque is important as it can harden and turn into tartar, making it difficult to clean the teeth. If tartar is not removed on time, only a dental health professional can help stop the progression of periodontal disease.

Can probiotics help with periodontal disease?

Yes. Oral or dental probiotics show promise in correcting the microbial imbalances (dysbiosis) that cause gum disease.

Probiotics aid in combating periodontal disease by employing two key strategies. 

  1. Fighting against pathogenic microbes

Probiotics engage in competition with pathogenic microbes for binding sites, effectively inhibiting their ability to attach to teeth and gums. Additionally, probiotics release antimicrobial proteins, hydrogen peroxide, and acids that can suppress the growth of harmful bacteria

  1. Modulating immune response

Probiotics reduce proinflammatory immune responses caused by pathogenic bacteria and alleviate inflammation. They also enhance the immune system’s ability to remove these pathogens.

Are oral or dental probiotics the same as gut probiotics?

No. They are not the same. Gut probiotics are made up of strains of bacteria that live and thrive in your digestive system, while oral probiotics have their own set of bacteria that prefer to call your mouth their home sweet home.

Moreover, the method of delivery also varies. Lozenges, chewable tablets, milk, and even some toothpaste formulas are the way to go if you want to give your mouth its daily dose of probiotics.

Do dental probiotics really work?

Yes. The study of how oral probiotics benefit oral health is a relatively new area in dental medicine, but the results so far are encouraging.

One meta-analysis published in the Journal of Dentistry showed that oral probiotics significantly reduced bleeding on probing. Another systematic review of 12 clinical trials revealed that oral probiotics improved the recognized clinical signs of chronic and aggressive periodontitis. These results suggest oral administration of probiotics is a safe and effective adjunct therapy in the management of gum disease.

Moreover, the researchers also found that oral probiotics reduce the need for antibiotics. Antibiotics tend to wipe out both good and bad microbes and disrupt the balance in microbiota which raises the concern for the re-growth of harmful bacteria. 

Best probiotic strains for periodontal disease

Aside from CFU counts, product quality, expiration date, and safety of the ingredients, the specific strain of probiotics present in the supplement bottle is an important factor to consider in picking the best probiotics for your condition.

Lactobacillus reuteri was efficacious in reducing both gingivitis and plaque in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis.

L.brevis can reduce inflammation in periodontal disease by reducing nitric oxide production by disease-causing bacteria.

The use of L. salivarius SGL03 in the form of an oral suspension reduces the depth of pockets in periodontal disease.

These two probiotic strains prevent immune activation induced by periodontal disease pathogens and reduce inflammation.

Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 can decrease periodontal disease-causing bacteria in saliva as well as in dental plaque.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

You can prevent gum disease by keeping your gums and teeth healthy.

  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Floss between your teeth regularly to remove dental plaque.
  • Rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Visit the dentist for regular examinations and professional cleaning.