Oral probiotics are the latest in the prevention of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Probiotics, as defined by FAO/WHO (The Food Agricultural Organization/World Health Organization), are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts (in food or as a dietary supplement), provide health benefits on the host. Most of us are familiar with probiotics for digestion, in the form of a pill or yogurt with active bacterial cultures. Oral probiotics provide good bacteria for our mouth. Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria normally found in the mouth. We are not born with it, but we get it from our mother’s oral bacteria. S. mutans sticks to your teeth with other organisms forming a biofilm (see our page on oral health information). S. mutans uses the sugars from your diet, making acid that dissolves tooth structure and causes cavities. Oral probiotics use helpful bacteria that are present in high numbers in cavity free individuals. These bacteria inhibit S. mutans. There are several probiotics on the market today for oral health.
Oragenics, Inc. was founded in 2004 by Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, a microbiologist who has been studying cavity causing bacteria since 1976. The company has four oral care consumer products that feature different ratios of three natural strains of beneficial bacteria patented as ProBiora3®. The three strains of bacteria are Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus uberis, and Streptococcus rattus which naturally support gum and tooth health. These bacteria colonize the mouth and adhere to the tooth surfaces deep below the gum line. They freshen breath by inhibiting odor-causing bacteria. The bacteria S. oralis KJ3™ and S. uberis KJ2™ naturally whiten teeth by producing low doses of hydrogen peroxide. The following four products are available: EvoraPro®: A probiotic lozenge with equal portions of all three strains that is designed for those over the age of 10. Taken before bedtime (ideally after brushing) this probiotic lozenge supports gum and tooth health, naturally freshens breath, and gently whitens.
At Delmarva Dental Services, we have seen amazing results in cavity reduction, gum health and plaque levels with the use of these products. Patients who have poor oral hygiene, like nursing home residents, have especially benefitted. We have these products available for purchase at our front desk. EvoraKids™: A Wild Very Berry Cherry chew that has higher levels of S. rattus JH145™, which supports dental health, and has reduced levels of S. oralis KJ3™ and S. uberis KJ2™ as periodontal health is not typically a concern for children. Both are available for purchase at our front desk.
Xylitol Nasal Rinse
Mix together, place in small spray bottle made for nasal rinsing. The solution should be changed after one week as it can become contaminated. Do not share the same bottle with anyone. Shake the mixture well. Tilt head forward so you are looking at floor and chin is tucked towards the chest. Place tip of the bottle in one nostril spray one or two squirts, bring head upright and sniff solution up into nostrils. Now repeat with the other nostril. If solution tends to run out, sniff it back up. Wait 2 or 3 minutes and if nostrils feel full blow nose. Afterward, repeat the procedure and leave in place.
When To Use
The most important times to use this product are before bed and upon awakening. Other important times are after being exposed to allergens like dust, pollen, and molds and when someone has an upper or lower respiratory in the shower is most effective. A good time to rinse is in the shower once before shampooing. Blow nose and then rinse again. Place conditioner in hair, rinse, and blow nose.
Why Does It Work?
Most allergens, bacterial infections and viral infections enter your body through the nose. Think of Xylitol rinsing like cleaning your teeth. If you don’t do it every day these foreign substances build up and cause problems. Xylitol coats the bacteria cells and makes them lose their attachment and fall off the nasal passages.
Where To Get Ingredients
Xylitol comes in granules and can be purchased on the internet or at health food stores. Specifically, Vitamin Shoppe on Route 13 and Health Store & More on College Avenue in Salisbury.