Highland Park (847) 432-1111 2685 Waukegan Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035
Northbrook (847) 498-4415 450 Skokie Blvd. 101, Northbrook, IL 60062
Mundelein (847) 566-5100 444 N Prospect Ave, Mundelein, IL 60060
an appointmentclick here
an appointmentclick here

Maintaining Great Oral Health: Oral Probiotics

Most of us realize that probiotics are a vital component of our gut and play an important role in promoting our general health, but you may not know that they’re also beneficial to your oral health as well.

While the Federal Drug Administration has not yet placed its official stamp of approval on the use of probiotics to promote oral health, numerous recent studies have shown that consuming probiotics can play a role in lowering the risk of a number of oral health issues.

What exactly are probiotics?

By definition, probiotics are healthy bacteria that provide benefits to the host in which they’re living. In humans, probiotics either restore or improve what is known as our gut flora – the gastrointestinal microbiota made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and germs living in the human digestive tract.

Because of its importance to our overall well-being, the gut flora is sometimes referred to as “the forgotten organ” that performs many functions vital to our general health. Among other things, it develops essential vitamins, such as several B vitamins and vitamin K.

Our gut flora is highly dependent on our diet, and several recent studies have shown that unbalanced gut flora is linked to a number of diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, colorectal cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and depression.

A woman opens her mouth while holding a pill and a glass of water.

Probiotics work to correct these imbalances, making sure that our “forgotten organ” is functioning as it should to protect us and promote our overall health.

Probiotics and your oral health

Beyond the benefits of probiotics to our overall health, here are four specific ways in which they promote your oral health as well.

1. Helps prevent plaque

We all have bacteria in our mouths, and unfortunately, some of those cause plaque. A recent study has found, however, that a certain type of bacteria known as A12 fights another type known as Streptococcus mutans that leads to the formation of plaque and cavities. In this study, the A12 prevented the S mutans from forming any plaque.

2. Reduces gum inflammation

Studies suggest that probiotic bacteria may also help manage gum inflammation. A study conducted in 2007 found that people taking a supplement containing the bacteria Lactobacillus brevis had decreased gum inflammation.

3. Manages gingivitis

Gingivitis is a gum disease that can cause swollen and tender gums, as well as sensitive teeth. A 2006 study found that participants given a supplement containing the bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri had reduced levels of both gingivitis and plaque.

4. Fights bad breath

Again citing recent research, one study has found that 85 percent of the participants who used an antimicrobial mouthwash, along with a daily supplement containing the probiotic treptococcus salivarius, had major reductions in the amount of bacteria in their mouths that cause bad breath.

Foods containing probiotics

To promote your overall health as well as your oral health, you can consume foods rich in natural probiotics including:

  • Yogurt
  • Soft cheeses like cultured cottage cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Sour pickles
  • Kombucha fermented tea

Including foods in your diet that are rich in probiotics will go a long way in stopping, or at least slowing, the infections that contribute to oral disease.

There are also numerous over-the-counter probiotic supplements available today, but before taking any supplements you should always first consult your primary care physician.

General and Cosmetic Dentists in Highland Park, IL

In the final analysis, while including probiotics in your diet is beneficial in many ways, daily brushing and flossing, along with regular checkups and cleanings, should be the most essential parts of your dental care routine.

Whatever your dental needs may be in general or cosmetic dentistry, we’re always here for you at North Suburban Dental with a wide variety of services.

Call any of our clinics today – in Highland Park, Northbrook, or Mundelein – to schedule your next appointment.

Back to News

Parking Spaces

Convenient Parking

Bus Routes

Bus stops near by


Accessibility parking

Questions? Contact Us Today